What does “Black History Month”mean to me?

By: Phillip A. Brown, Editor, Urban Futurist Publication

When I think of the celebrating by Black people during Black History Month, my spirit fills empty and a little sad.  Our ancestors sacrificed so much for each proceeding generation, with the hope that one day there would be a prosperous nation of Black people free from the shackles of slavery, the bondage of share-cropping and the unjust laws of Jim Crow…And yes, from that man made disease, “racism”.  

How they must have imagined!

That Black people one day would pool their intelligence, talent, land and money to build communities that support our culture, children and families.  I believe our ancestors thought of a time in the future when businesses and institutions owned by Black people would blanket the landscape of our communities creating jobs, knowledge institutes, inventions, housing, hotels, hospitals, banks, restaurants, stores etc…The evolution of “Black Wall Street” Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1921 prosperity spreading across America, before the bombings and total destruction by angry white mobs.

What then, would they see today that would be cause for Celebration?

After the “I have a dream” speech and the subsequent murder of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968, what have Black people accomplished; no, not individually, but as a nation of people that give rise to the next generation of Black children?  We have more freedom, education, money and talent then any preceding generation.  Yet Mother Nature, through hurricane Katrina unveiled the precarious living conditions of urban Black America.

I too have a dream for Black America!

Imagine; that Black History Month (February) was a time for planting seeds (investing in businesses), and Juneteenth was a time to celebrate the new harvest of these businesses, jobs and institutions cooperatively funded and collectively owned by the community …Wealth creation, a legacy for the next generation to build upon…

How, you may ask, could we do this?  

First, we would re-educate the Black Church community to an understanding that the tithes and gifts given on Sunday are on loan, and are to be used in a manner that is consistence with the parable of the “five talents”.  That is, the offerings raised would be leveraged and multiplied by investing back into the community in the form of cooperative ownership in land, institutions and businesses owned and operated by the members to support the needs of the giving congregants, (The Church) and community.

Second, the congregants would assess their talents and experiences and collaborate them in support of these newly established businesses and institutions…After all, the congregants will own them collectively with the entrepreneur and receive dividends based on their patronage…This vision would give new meaning to the celebration of Kwanzaa’s “cooperative economics”, through a cooperative plan of community building by investing our shared resources through a new support service system.

As you can see, my dream has generational roots that bring forth rivers of truth, knowledge, hope and faith from past lives planted in Gods frozen, yet fertile soil, waiting for future generations to unlock their promise.  If we listen closely we can hear their heart beat within us, guiding us through our patch in the road we call life’s journey…If only more recipients of our ancestors sacrifice would stop and listen to the heart beat, then act accordingly, our journey and the next generations would be viewed from a much higher place on the mountain call prosperity… Heaven, here on earth…So what then shall we celebrate…their sacrifice, or our planting of seed in the journey? Relax, it’s only a dream…or is it. 

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