Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Do-over Black History Month 2019 and representation

When I wrote last month that Black History Month was getting a do-over, I was not completely clear on the end date.

I guess it ends today, kind of.

I mean, for my own enrichment, I am not done with the movies I am watching. I will get there, and I will write something about that soon. I am done posting Black History links and songs of the day by Black artists as a specific thing for now. (Though that is also "kind of" because there are two sad things that will be up tomorrow, but they are different.)

(Also, the next daily song theme is going to pull from my additional listening on bands from the Nothing Feels Good book, which I am not done with, but I am far enough along to start, just in case anyone is wondering about musical goals.)

I have a few notes on this month, as it was.

Firstly, it was more than a month.

There are frequent jokes about Black History Month being the shortest month. I knew I at least wanted to give a full 31 days for the do-over. That would have taken me through July 19th. I went through July 31st, and my last two days involved multiple people. I just kept thinking of more historical figures and more songs.

I also kept remembering this quote from Toni Morrison:

“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”

No one should feel the need to dredge up proof of the intelligence or creativity or worth of their race, but if you go looking there is so much there. There are scientists and inventors, military and political leaders, athletes and artists, musicians and poets, and everything else you could hope for. That is true looking at Black history, and that included men, women, and transgender people, gay and straight, and with or without disabilities. It would be true of other races.

Perhaps I will take other history months and post more historical figures. My music focus ends up diverse pretty often anyway, but things can always change. I thought about queer representation specifically this time in a way I hadn't really before. It wasn't planned, but after a lot of time spent listening to others and open, that has organically become more important to me. (So if you are wondering if focusing on diversity can work, maybe.)

Knowing that it is in no way comprehensive, here is a list of the people I referenced and the often inadequate articles about them. If someone needs to write a report some day, maybe it's a starting place, but there are always more.

6/19 Georgia Gilmore,
6/20 Gladys West,
6/21 Harry T. and Harriette Moore,
6/22 Lewis Howard Latimer,
6/23 Alexander P. Ashbourne,
6/24 Mary Hamilton,
6/25 Benjamin Benneker,
6/26 Mary Seacole,
6/27 Dr. Daniel Hale Williams,
6/28 Katherine Dunham,
6/29 Marsha P. Johnson,
6/30 Arthur Ashe,
7/1 Jean Fairfax,
7/2 Bayard Rustin,
7/3 Shirley Chisholm,
7/4 Langston Hughes,
7/5 Robert Johnson,
7/6 Lorraine Hansberry,
7/7 Emery Barnes,
7/8 Joe Louis,
7/9 Mary Church Terrell,
7/10 A. Philip Randolph,
7/11 Wilma Rudolph,
7/12 Ralph Bunche,
7/13 Odetta,
7/14 John Hope Franklin,
7/15 Mary McLeod Bethune,
7/16 Lerone Bennett Jr.,
7/17 William J. Powell,
7/18 Paul Cuffe,
7/19 Madam C. J. Walker,
7/20 Arthur McGee,
7/21 Phillis Wheatley,
7/22 Medgar Evers,
7/23 Ralph David Abernathy,
7/24 Ida B. Wells,
7/25 Maya Angelou,
7/26 Augustine Tolton,
7/27 Jesse Owens,
7/28 Sojourner Truth, and
7/29 Prince Nico Mbarga,
7/30 Benjamin O Davis Jr and Sr,
7/31 Black women in science: