Pan Africanism : Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by NNQueen, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    "When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his "proper place" and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary."
    -- Dr. Carter G. Woodson, "The Miseducation of the Negro"
    http://www.freemaninstitute.com/woodson.htm

    Ever wonder about how Black History Month came to be?

    Following is a brief excerpt of the article found at the above link:

    "February was chosen as Black History Month because the birthdays of the esteemed black abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the celebrated black poet Langston Hughes fall during that month. It's also the month the NAACP was founded. It just so happens that February is the shortest and one of the coldest months of the year.

    So how come there is no official White History Month? In the words of a Tulane University Black History Month Web site, "a White History Month is not needed because the contributions of whites are already acknowledged by society. Black History Month is meant to remedy this inequity of representation."

    Of course, if standard U.S. history curriculum did a better job of teaching both the tragic and triumphant aspects of the expansion of democratic freedoms on this continent and its inextricable link to Americans of black African descent, then a Black History Month would be wholly unnecessary.

    But when educated Americans at the dawn of the 21st century make statements like: My grandparents were immigrants who faced discrimination and made it. Why can't blacks? All societies had slaves. Besides, some blacks were sold into slavery by black Africans -- it's clear to anyone familiar with the history of white-skin privilege in America that Black History Month has not outlived its usefulness."


    What does Black History Month mean to you?
     
  2. Sun Ship

    Sun Ship Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Black History month...if you blink, you'll miss it.

    Peace sister Queenie,

    I could say a lot about my feelings, about this month. But let me say this much, It’s sort of a paradoxical situation.

    I know I’m going to sound like, I’m as old as dirt, when I make this next statement.(lol) But, when I was a child, I remember when it was just, “Negro History Week”!

    Once a year for a week, our teacher would place the pictures of about 7 or 8 well respected and no doubt, very-acceptable Black historical figures on the wall and we would discuss, their accomplishments. AND THIS WAS IN AN ALL-BLACK PUBLIC SCHOOL! A much younger sister of mine who later experienced some years in an integrated school setting (by this time it had became Black history month) probably never experienced the recognition of this occasion (that is, in her school).

    Though this a time when all of the progressive black scholars, artists, musicians and dancers are usually given a platform to express and perform their cultural knowledge and talents and, also the universities and municipalities loosen their “purse strings” and open their coffers a little wider, for the African American Artistic and cultural community, there is still a problem with all of this short-termed gratuity.

    I have watched Black artist, musicians and dancers, literally starve for recognition and venues to exercise their genius and the contributions that are innately designed to sustain our cultural well-being. While whites in the arts, have year round continuous platforms, funding and community interest.

    Meanwhile, the African American artistic community has been relegated to one month out of every year. A MONTH! This is appalling to say the least.

    You only get to see for one month that which should be seen all year-round.
    It’s like freeze-dried culture in a can.

    When the doors of Black cultural funding opens for this short period. Our "starving Arts" community start their jockeying for positions, the imploring of institutions for funding, the scratching for art foundation expenditures and then a selective, if not almost political process begins to reward (temporarily), which cultural artist best represents a moderate and acceptable view of African/African American culture and/or history.

    In this demeaning process and sometimes, a state of temporary insanity, I’ve seen backbiting and even groveling going on, among these creative lobbyist.

    Only a few expressive artists are allowed to be provocative or reflective of the times, for it seems entertainment and commerce rules, much like today’s Kwanzaa; some aspects of our cultural expressions and historical prespectives get no, if very little, venue at all.

    So I know this is the month (Feburary) to jump on our Blackness. To buy that book you couldn't find and to hear a Black scholar, you rarely hear, but I think we need to rethink or revise our view of this temporary and orchestrated moment of cultural sanity, historical recognition and intellectual attainment.

    It's like trying to cram alot of historical truth and culture into an short book.

    Peace and Love,

    Sun Ship
     
  3. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I have always felt that Black History Month was for the education of non-black people. Because as Black people we should never restrict the celebration and discovery of our proud history to just one month out of a year. In America alone Blacks have participated in every war the country has ever fought. We have been involved in every cultural movement. We have created inventions which changed the course of society (traffic light, gas mask, clock, blood bank, cell phone, electric filament for the light bulb, etc). All that is good about America, Black people helped to create. Without our efforts the country could have never been as successful as it has been, and without us the country will fall. Make no doubt about it....African American history, is American history.
     
  4. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Brothers Sun Ship and panafrica . . both excellent posts and extremely relevant messages. Black History Month...in it's current form is like a government set aside. Designed to celebrate what we, as Blacks, already know about ourselves--our greatness. As Brother Sun Ship already stated, this is a time when all of the progressive black scholars, artists, musicians and dancers are usually given a platform to express and perform their cultural knowledge and talents. But it all seems so superficial and diluted because it's limited in scope. It's as though we're all happy and don't have a care in the world. But is that the truth?

    Isn't there something more important that Blacks want to convey to the world other than how great and worthy we are? From what I read in our forums here, I think there is. But as long as we allow this focus of happy go lucky portrayal of us to continue, we perpetuate the continuation of racism and divisiveness in American society.

    Maybe the focus needs to change from a time of celebration to include our truth about how Blacks are still treated in an oppressive society. Where has all this greatness gotten us? How significant has it made our progress in America and worldwide? Can Black History Month be just another modern version of a Step'n Fetchit show? Us laughing, grinning, dancing and singin' for the massa?

    Don't misunderstand me, I'm proud of all the things we accomplish as a people. I'm impressed but I'm not shocked by it. People looking at us like, "wow, Black people can do that?" :eek:hmy: Yes, we can, have and still do. But at the same time, we're dying from diseases faster than anyone else on the planet and are treated less humanely than most other people.

    Although we invented the traffic light, how many of us can afford cars? We invented the filament used in light bulbs but how many of us struggle to pay the light bill each month? We invented the gas mask but proportionally speaking, how many of us are dying of AIDS? Somthing is wrong with this picture, don't you think?

    Yes, Blacks have one chance each year to showcase themselves, but who decided on what was going to be showcased? Did anyone consult with us about that? If we took advantage of the one opportunity given to us each year to tell a different story, how long do you think they will allow us to keep the Black History Month platform?

    Where is the truth about our Black men being incarcerated at significantly higher rates than any other population? Where is the truth about racial profiling and treatment by the law enforcement system? Where is the truth about our homeless, unemployed, uninsured? Why do we have to continue to fight in the court system for basic rights as humans? Why do people continue to argue over affirmative action? Why do we have to continously suffer an assault on our character in the media? We talk here among ourselves but when do we vocalize these same messages to society as a whole--collectively and showing solidarity?

    Maybe we should re-create this annual tradition and shock the system by telling a different story. Does anyone remember what year it was when Black athletes stood up on the winning platforms during the Olympics with raised fists expressing Black Power? We need to stop letting other people define who we are. Ask yourselves the question as to whether Black History Month celebrations are doing that.

    Peace! :spinstar:
     
  5. Sun Ship

    Sun Ship Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    progressive Black people need a cultural over-haul.

    Sister NNqueen :bowdown: that was a powerful assertion and query, dealing with the shortcomings of Black History month. The same thing could be said about Kwanzaa and MLK’s Birthday.

    Though, I think it’s rewarding that we rearticulate and give honor to, our culture, history and accomplishments, I’m in total agreement with you, about the real-time social validity or benefits of these events.

    Culture’s and history’s reflectiveness and presentation should always be congruent and responsive to the people at hand. Even our artist and authors should write, sketch, sing, dance, and perform music that muse and reflect our present realities.

    As I’ve said before, why are we playing drums and singing and dancing about yams, fufu and drinking gourds, while we’re sopin' "pot liquor and corn bread" and drinking Kool-aid from jelly jars.

    We need a true and responsive cultural and historical construct.

    Peace,

    Sun Ship
     
  6. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    A New Global Order . . . think about it!

    Maybe the following is the approach Pan-Africanists need to be taking and how we should celebrate our "Blackness."

    Excerpted from:

    Reparations and A New Global Order: A Comparative Overview
    by Professor Chinweizu, A paper read at the second Plenary Session of the First Pan-African Conference on Reparations, Abuja, Nigeria, April 27, 1993.


    " . . . we must discover where we now are in our history. We must recognise that in 36 years of independence, reckoning from Ghana's in 1957 (just four years short of the 40 years the Israelites spent in the wilderness!), we have been blundering about in the neo-colonial wilderness. And we must ask: Why did Moses lead his people into the wilderness and keep them wandering about for two generations? I do not believe that he, a learned man raised in the pharaoh's court, did not know the direct route to his people's Promised Land. I believe it was a dilatory sojourn whose tribulations were calculated to cure his people of the legacy of slavery. You can't make a free people out of slaves without first putting them through experiences that would purge them of the slave mentality. We, in our own wilderness years, need to take conscious steps to purge ourselves of the legacy of a 500 year holocaust of slavery and colonialism. In that way, when we finally arrive at our own Promised Land -- a Black World cured of the holocaust legacy -- we would be ready for the new liberated phase of our long adventure on this Earth.

    To help us get our bearings in this wilderness phase, I would suggest four main measures:

    1. The creation of Holocaust Monuments in all parts of the Black World, as reminders of what we have been through and are determined never again to go through. Efforts already being made in this area should continue and be added to. I am thinking, for instance, of the Goree Island Project in Senegal, and the Slave Route Project in Benin Republic. But let me recommend a major monument here in Abuja, this new capital rising in a zone that, in the past, witnessed intensive slave raiding for the trans-Sahara slave trade. We should erect here a monument complex that portrays scenes from the Black Holocaust, scenes taken from all parts of the world; a great Black Holocaust Monument that shall serve as the Black World's counterpart of the Wailing Wall of the Jews in Jerusalem.

    2. The institution of a Holocaust Memorial Day, to be observed each year throughout the Black World, as a day of mourning and remembrance. with solemn ceremonies at local holocaust monuments. Perhaps this date, April 27, on which we have assembled here, should be designated the Holocaust Memorial Day of the Black World.

    3. The creation of a Black Heritage Education Curriculum, to teach us our true history, and thereby restore our self-worth as descendants of the pioneers of world civilisation, and supply us with the antidote to the White Supremacist Ideology and its damaging effects. This would produce a post-holocaust Black personality, one cured of the debilities inflicted by the holocaust experience.

    4. The creation of a Black World League of Nations, with its complex of institutions, to take care of our collective security, to foster solidarity and prosperity among us, and to prevent the infliction of any future damage on any part of the Black World.

    These measures, and others like them, would teach us who we are what we have been and ought to become, and would promote and concretise Black World solidarity. Having made such internal changes in ourselves and in our world, we would be better able to foster in the entire global order two key changes:

    a. A different view of global history, particularly of the last 500 years, and of the millennia before 525 BC -- that calamitous year when Black Egypt fell permanently to white invaders, leaving all of Africa open for incursions from West Eurasia; and

    b. Structural changes that would block the possibility of future damage of the sorts for which we now seek reparations." (See thread: A New Global Order: Reparations, Part 1 and 2).

    (Source: African Reparations Movement, www.arm.arc.co.uk/home.html)

    Peace :spinstar:
     
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