Black History Month All Year Long

February is Black History Month and while this is a great thing to celebrate all month long, we should actually be learning Black history all the time, just as we should always be learning women’s history, Native American history, Asian history, Latino history, and… we could go on. 

Black history IS American history. We can miss a lot of learning if we only read about the stories that have historically been part of school books and class syllabi. 

For example, many of us learned about or have at least heard about John Brown, the white abolitionist who raided Harpers Ferry in 1859 in an effort to spur a move toward freedom. But did you know that he was accompanied by five Black men, four of whom were already free? Their names have all but been ignored throughout history. 

A book you might want to consider reading, especially if you haven’t read Black history widely, is Jermaine Fowler’s The Humanity Archive, or you can listen to the podcast of the same name. He covers a lot of ground in both the book and the show which helps broaden one’s understanding of history beyond the major events and figureheads. We were honored to have Jermaine Fowler as the headlining author at last year’s Louisville Book Festival which is produced by Make A Way Media.

Another story that has recently come to light can be found in a book titled Master Slave Husband Wife by Ilyon Woo. It is the story of Ellen Craft, an enslaved woman whose father was her white master. To get herself and her husband, William, out of slavery, she disguised herself as a wealthy white disabled man and her husband posed as her slave. They traveled up North in a brilliant ruse, escaping the horrors of slavery not under cover but in plain sight. 

While these books are newer, a standout book from 2010 that continues to impact people is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Henrietta Lacks’ cells continue to be used today as part of revolutionary medical experiments despite the fact that they were taken from her and used without permission in 1951. Her contributions to science are immeasurable.

These stories are important and we should not shy away from them because slavery is such a dark and ugly chapter in our history. Deedee Cummings who is the founder of Make A Way Media talks about the pride that we should feel as a country who was able to move on from slavery, even though our world is still not ideal.

“Black history is about much more than slavery, but there are so many ancestors who gave their very lives to get us where we are today. It is important that we never forget them or their stories. We owe it to them and we owe it to us as a nation to celebrate these lives and to tell their stories.” ~ Deedee Cummings, Founder of Make A Way Media and the Louisville Book Festival

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 16 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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