Article by Stephen Maddox Sr.

February is African-American History Month and ignorance is not bliss.

Millions of haters worked hard to keep us away from knowledge about our history and many of our ancestors suffered for trying to learn or teach the truth. If you really want to piss off white supremacists, dismantle the wall of ignorance they built around us. Learn and spread the truth. That truth must be valuable because they worked so hard to keep it from us.

Thousands of collections and resources are available to you to learn from. There are many institutions and media resources focused on information useful to the understanding of Black History. Here is an example:

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have joined in paying tribute to the generations of African-Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. Check out this website:  http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/about.html 

We owe it to our ancestors and our children to learn our own history. The conscious white-washing of American history in schools and the mass media up until recent times made that a difficult task. Now there is no reason to remain uninformed about our history in this land.

African-American children and teacher in classroom studying corn and cotton, near Tuskegee, Alabama 1902

African American children and teacher in classroom studying corn and cotton, near Tuskegee, Alabama 1902

African-American children and teacher in classroom studying corn and cotton, near Tuskegee, Alabama 1902

Read books. Watch documentary films. Listen to audio records of the Black experiences in America. Listen to Black radio and television programs. Talk to older Black Americans about their journey through this freedom desert.

Discuss what you learn with others and learn from them too when possible. The only thing you should not do is . . . NOTHING!

Ignorance is its own punishment.

I am a former teacher, marketing representative, labor negotiator and small business owner. As a black man born and raised in New York City I learned how to survive in the "neighborhood" and in business. Hearing about and witnessing the trials, tribulations, hopes and fears of my extended family and the people in their lives helped mold my life. Helping others with their own life journeys is my goal.

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