On February 16, one of the most awaited movies of this time premiers: Black Panther. It is a movie like no other featuring an African American director, a prominent African American cast, and the first ever African American protagonist featured in a Marvel movie!
What makes this movie so spectacular is not just its cinematography, but rather the social message it brings. Black empowerment is a much-needed message today, especially with the recent white supremacy showings in Charlottesville and police brutality towards blacks driven by racism.
Black history month was originally created to remind and teach African American youth about their ancestral roots and the strong African American men and women who advocated for their liberties, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman. Read more in our related articles.
DIVERSITY Is Important
Black history month is also an opportunity for all children to learn about equality and the importance of diversity. The word "diversity" is much more than ethnicity -- it includes gender, age, religion, economic background, and a variety of other things.
Diversity is very important for the further development of mankind as people who have seen or lived under different circumstances will often bring new ideas and perspectives to the table. For example, if a diverse group of people wanted to improve their community, people of different origins could produce more ideas than people who have experienced the exact same things.
Many times, fear occurs when we do not understand something well enough. Diversity changes our naturally formed biases against people of certain backgrounds because we do not grasp their culture or the circumstances that enabled them to become who they are. As a result, cultural diversity creates less discrimination (which allows events like police brutality to take place) and helps the world to become more unified and peaceful.
One person Black History Month remembers is Florence Price, a black woman. During her lifetime, she was not celebrated as a composer due to her status as an African American and a female.
Price is the first woman to gain national recognition for her compositions and the first to have one of her symphonies performed by a prominent orchestra -- a feat like no other, as her field is filled with white men. Her music withered away and was soon lost, only to be discovered decades after her death in her summer home. Her almost-lost music is a reminder that culture and history, if not treasured and taken care of, could simply disappear.
Even now, there are many African Americans who are breaking boundaries. Simply look to the winter Olympics. Maame Biney is the first black woman to make the speedskating team and the second African-born competitor for the US at the winter Olympics. She is well known for her quick bolts during the beginning of the race.
Other black skaters include Shani Davis who is returning for his fifth Olympic games and holds two gold medals in the event. His accomplishments have been featured in Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History. Moreover, bobsledding features three black women: Elana Meyers Taylor, Lauren Gibbs and Aja Evans. Taylor is the first American woman to win a World title and won a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Black history month is a time to celebrate influential black people. They are challenging societal norms and encouraging younger African Americans to dream big and feel proud of their culture. Even if you are not black, you can still promote diversity by educating yourself and others about black history. Together, we can break the glass ceiling, and not just for women.
Now, let's enjoy some soul-stirring music composed by Florence Price...