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Can't Hold Me Down

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

My education journey included African American studies in college, and my life experience in the United States military had the life-saving skills “adapt and overcome” and the omnipresent strategy “flexibility is the key to airpower.”

Including African American history in the education, curriculum is crucial as it provides a comprehensive and inclusive understanding of the American experience. Including this subject allows students to gain insights into African Americans' struggles, achievements, and cultural contributions throughout history. Teaching African American history not only fosters a sense of empathy and respect for diversity but also challenges dominant narratives that have often neglected or marginalized the experiences of African Americans.

Teaching African American history is important because it addresses historical inequalities and promotes social justice. The Civil Rights Movement and other pivotal moments in African American history have influenced the nation's trajectory toward equality and justice. Educating students about these struggles not only aids them in comprehending the ongoing fight for racial justice and encourages critical discussions on the socio-political factors that perpetuate discrimination. Learning about the Montgomery Bus Boycott can motivate students to question segregation and advocate for community fairness.

In addition, teaching African-American history highlights African-Americans remarkable contributions in various fields, including science, the arts, literature, politics, and sports. From figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, and Thurgood Marshall to more recent icons like Barack Obama and Serena Williams, African Americans have profoundly shaped American culture and society. As students learn about black people and their achievements, they are exposed to various role models demonstrating resilience, leadership, and creativity.

Rosa Parks on a bus
Rosa Parks riding a bus. Photo credit to AP

Including African American history in the curriculum helps combat stereotypes and promote racial harmony. By providing accurate insights into the contributions of African Americans and showcasing their rich cultural heritage, students develop a more nuanced understanding of the complexities of race. African American historical experience can improve social cohesion within classrooms and communities by fostering empathy, respect, and appreciation for diversity.

Teaching African-American history is a vital component of a well-balanced education. It enables students to explore diverse perspectives, challenge prejudices and understand the interdependence of human experiences. We can build a more inclusive society where everyone's history is acknowledged and valued by honoring the contributions and struggles of African Americans.

The essence of resilience is the ability to adapt to the environment, meet your enemy on the battlefield, and overcome adversity. The political red GOP states of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi offer a clear and present danger to education, civil rights, and public safety. Florida governor and fledging presidential candidate Desantis has attacked fervently African American studies to whitewash history by endorsing slavery as a job placement activity instead of a sinful, inhumane, and immoral crime. Desantis explained to a reporter that slavery offered certain benefits like job skills if a Blacksmith. As he travels the country campaigning, Florida residents live with oppressive education laws, LGBTQ phobia attacks, book bans, anti-diversity, anti-immigrants, and anti-female reproductive autonomy. So, what's left after being poor, uneducated, black, other minority, LGBTQ person, immigrant worker, and female wanting choices - it seems the only people left in Florida are white middle/upper-class Anglo-Saxon European Christians. Resilience is necessary under pressure to depart the state of Florida or give up and forget the essential lessons of African American history - fight, fight, and keep on fighting. Vote to stay and fight!

Voting is an American democratic right to freely elect one’s government representatives to do the people's business. Alabama is doing the business of approximately 2/3 population, leaving the remaining 27% black population underrepresented and oppressed. Alabama thought no one would notice a solitary black district on the redistricting map drawn and approved by the state. Consequently, the organized black group sued Alabama, and the case went to the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court ruled that a previous map enacted by the Alabama State Legislature denied Black voters an opportunity to elect candidates of their choice by packing them into just one majority Black district and diluting the voting power of other Black voters in the state.” I constantly emphasize voting because when I hear voting doesn't matter, I think about states like Alabama and conservative organizations that work hard to take the power to vote away and fool people, minorities especially, into believing they shouldn't vote because voting doesn't matter when voting is your power.

Mississippi has a long history shadow regarding using violence or terrorism against states black and visiting residents. Their university athletic teams have minorities (black players) on their rosters but off campus and away from sports, there remains a distinct separation between communities of color and white majority people.

Segregationists use fear to enforce this separation. Public safety and security remain unequal and intimidating at best for minorities. Emmett Till died in Mississippi in 1955, murdered by white men and later tried and acquitted by an all-white jury. A sign placed at the site of young Emmett’s demise over the years has been shot at and cut down as a fear tactic reminder that black lives don't matter, and the unspoken warning of bullet-ridden memorial signs may lead to modern-day lynchings.

In contrast to fear and aggregation, President Biden signed an official proclamation for the Emmett Till Memorial as a national monument! Newsworthy, many newspaper and media outlets focused instead on Desantis's belittlement of slavery, House Speaker McCarthy's ridiculous proposal to impeach President Biden, and the piling indictment of former President Trump. The proverbial society tug of war plays out daily, if not weekly, between President Biden trying to govern responsibly and the GOP doing the opposite. By the way, Congress went on vacation in August, leaving a potential government shutdown in the future still needing to work out. The country’s division is authentic and dense, but resilience is required.

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King

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