Honor Your Father and Mother so Your Days Can Be Long in the Land that Your God Has Given You. This is a Commandment of the Lord God.
February is the month each year when American Blacks and other sincere Americans celebrate the accomplishments of black Americans past and present. It’s a shame that this society’s refusal to recognize these Americans in the history books has compelled us to have to do it ourselves during a month where the rest of the nation celebrates past Presidents, most who were proven oppressors and slave owners.
Daddy and Momma are part of this country’s history too. They were American, parents, laborers, blameless, and black. Both born in 1920 and 1921 respectively into families hard pressed long before any Great Depression they knew in their hearts that one day they would see a better world and much brighter days ahead for their children and they were willing to make the sacrifices to ensure that belief. The desires of their hearts are granted and sustained.
This commentary pays homage to my parents and yours too. There can be no celebration of Black American history without mention of my father and mother. They weren’t famous or made any headlines, but they unwillingly complied with the standards of bigotry, quietly supported the movements to extinguish it, and taught their children how to recognize and stand up to it when confronted by it.
My parents and their parent’s parents own stock in building of this great nation. My siblings and I, our children and their children are their dividends, paying them handsomely with being well educated, non criminals, working professionals, good examples to our children and being leaders on the job, in the community, at the church, at school, in the military and even during a friendly game of cards. They invested every bit of their beings into us year after year.
Let us not forget Americans that happened to be black, born in the horrific days of yesteryear where they were constantly terrorized, criminalized, and nearly pulverized by a society that hated them. Some didn’t make it while others are still scarred even to this day. So, honoring those noteworthy American black inventors, abolitionists, scientists and educators along with those who raised us will balance the order of how you arrived at where you are now.
In our house we were first educated at the dinner table, every night, where my parents both sat with children eating good nourishing food that filled our stomachs and momma reading the local newspapers and other publications to us supplying our minds with knowledge. All of us to this day will oftentimes feed the mind before satisfying the appetite.
Like many others where I came from my parents were far from rich. Poor stood at our front gate, but they refused to let poverty make its way through the door. Though every household may not have been as fortunate as ours there were countless other American black fathers and mothers just like mine in my hometown and in communities across America who beat the odds that were against them and served this country well without being menaces to a discriminatory society.
My parents were warriors. They equipped us and insisted that we cleave to learning and know that we could attain any prize and go to war if need be with those who would dare expect us to be passive. They rallied behind and encouraged their peers and protected their interests. The school teachers and the pastor were not our parents and I never would have thought of them beyond being only supporters of my father and mother because even they knew the foundation was sound in our home.
My parents were from generations of other black Americans and even Native Americans with little claim to Africa. The same feelings hold true today with many American blacks though many still look at the African continent as “The Motherland.” America is my mother’s land and it is the land of my father’s fathers, and all are part of the great American story.
We have been conditioned mostly by our own doing to recognize our accomplishments in February every year. If the story of our people is to be told with power behind it, begin today telling the unpublicized stories of your parents. Talk about them, examine their purpose and mirror their good. Especially, salute the black American elders and teach your children and grandchildren to do likewise. Many have earned our respect.
Blessed are father and mother as they rest in that other place. I shall continue to pay tribute to them every day of every year that I live and give thanks to those who had the courage to share their brilliance.