“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

Hosea 4:6

 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

2 Timothy 4:2

My upbringing in the metropolitan region of Atlanta was characterized by an omnipresent aura of “Black Excellence.” This was mainly because my family lineage is steeped in the tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with my parents and siblings being proud alumni of the Atlanta University Center. The political landscape I was accustomed to was predominantly African American, with both male and female mayors and congressional members. Consequently, the Obamas were not an exception but rather a reaffirmation of the Black excellence that was a constant in my life.

Throughout my educational journey, from kindergarten to college, I was under the leadership of African American principals and presidents, both male and female. Many of my educators were products of the Atlanta University Center, which greatly influenced my decision to attend Spelman College. The representation of Spelman alumnae was compelling; these women exuded a level of acuity that I aspired to emulate. As a student, the essence of Black History was not confined to a single month but was an integral part of our curriculum throughout the year. This comprehensive exposure to my history fostered a robust sense of identity within me.

However, it was not until I ventured beyond the confines of Atlanta to pursue graduate studies at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, that I realized the uniqueness of my cultural upbringing. It was in this new environment that I encountered institutional racism, microaggressions, and distortions of our history for the first time. Faced with these challenges, I found myself compelled to contest the inaccuracies propagated by my professors despite the potential academic repercussions. The prospect of my history being misrepresented was unacceptable, and I was prepared to bear the consequences of defending the truth.

I believe this is our collective responsibility. We must ensure that our narratives are accurately represented, and that the truth of our identities is not compromised. We must resist attempts to erase or trivialize our history. We are not merely entertainers and athletes; we are inventors, scholars, scientists, theologians, world leaders, and so much more. Our contributions are vast and significant, and they deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

Persist in the narration of our history beyond the confines of February. Articulate the truth with unwavering conviction. Black history is integral to global history, and its significance should not be diminished. Continue to disseminate our narrative until it is recognized as the norm rather than the exception. Our history is not an anomaly; it is a standard that contributes to the rich tapestry of world history. Let us strive to ensure that it is acknowledged as such.