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Legacy Keepers - Erased and Revised: Our Stories, Our History

Most of us know that Black history is extremely lacking in the American history courses taught through the education system in the United States of America. To have segments of history be silenced via exclusion is common practice. This is why to be not seen and not be heard is not a new phenomenon – erasure and revision – are part of the strategy for telling US history. A strategy that creates a particular narrative that only includes select stories about some of those involved. With that being said, Black, indigenous, and people of color are cast in a negative light, if shown at all. While, of course, the narrative highlights the best, the brightest, and the most courageous of individuals or groups of European descent.

Photo credit Education Week

Currently, many of us have heard about or seen the headlines about books that challenge the Eurocentric patriarchal capitalist sociocultural norms being banned and about the changes to the curriculum and academic standards for teaching Black history. Florida’s Governor and school board are currently leading the way in erasure and revisionist strategies and have often been in the news for their controversial decisions. We see that erasure and revisionist history continues to gain traction, particularly with the use of social media and extremist anti-black propaganda.


Our elders and ancestors warned us that we cannot trust or depend on others to teach our community about Black history, not just US Black history, but the history of Black people throughout the diaspora. We must record, preserve, protect, and teach all aspects of our Black experience, our African experience - our humanity. We are the Legacy Keepers.[1] It has always been imperative that we, as Black people, keep and share our stories with generations to come. We have an oral tradition that loses knowledge every time one of our elders transitions to be with our ancestors.


We have to stand guard. We have to stand firm for our ancestors so that they are not erased, and their experiences are not belittled, negated, or revised in such a way that the atrocities that they have suffered are presented in a way that indicates they enjoyed or benefitted from being enslaved and oppressed. There is a legacy of greatness that started long before European enslavement.[2] This is the narrative. The narrative of greatness that we should ensure is taught and shared with current and future generations of the world.


Photo Credit NPR, Creative Commons

 

[1] Many community organizations, Nonprofits, colleges, and universities have implemented programs that seek to search for and capture the history and stories of the elders in many Black communities. Stay vigilant and aware of who, why, for what, and how the stories are being recorded. [2] This is just a little reading list for you: Bennett, Lerone (1961). Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America. Penguin Books. Black, Daniel (2015). The Coming (a Novel). St. Martin’s Press. Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization Myth or Realty. Lawrence Hill Books. Goodwine, Marquetta (Ed.) (1998). The Legacy of Ibo Landing Gullah Roots of African American Culture. Clarity Press, Inc. Lane-Poole, Stanley (1886, 1990). The Story of the Moors in Spain. Black Classic Press. Poe, Richard (1997). Black Spark White Fire: Did African Explorers Civilize Europe? Prima Publishing. Rodney, Walter (1972). How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Howard University Press. Van Sertima, Ivan (1976). They Came Before Columbus. Random House.

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