Sunday, February 28, 2010

We Must Be Historians

"We must be historians." These words were uttered today at the St. Luke Baptist Church in Paterson, NJ where Rev. Kenneth D.R. Clayton is the Sr. Pastor, by former United States Congressman and Pastor Emeritus of New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy. Rev. Fauntroy was the guest preacher for Heritage Sunday Worship at St. Luke and what a powerful message he delivered. Which brings me to this edition of The Critical Thinker.

As today being February 28th marks the close of February and the end of the month known as Black History Month, it is critical that each of us realize that the understanding of; the study of; and the reflection upon black history cannot be limited to one month alone. Black history, particularly for African Americans and in some respects even more so for everyone else must become a part of our daily lives. African Americans make history every day. It is sad to think that the only time we pause to reflect upon the contributions of African Americans is on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday in January or just during the month of February. It is for this reason that Rev. Fauntroy's words struck a chord with me when he said in this mornings service that we must be historians. I knew when he said it and I heard it that it would be the title for this blog. I had already begun writing on my various sites to remind people that just because February is coming to a close, our recognition of our history must not. We must learn more and more about our ancestry every day. We owe that to our forefathers and foremothers. I would not be sitting in the Principal's seat today if it weren't for those like Rev. Fauntroy who paved the way.

I watched Brenda Blackmon last night host a segment on Black History and when some were interviewed on the street concerning what Black History Month and Dr. King's birthday meant to them, many of them said it is one time throughout the year to pause and reflect on the history of African Americans. It was with these statements that this critical thinker took issue. We must not just pause for the twenty eight days in February and the one day in January. We must reflect upon and act upon our heritage the remaining three hundred and thirty six days as well. During the segment last night, just as I did this morning,I learned so much more about our history. Even the history of slavery in New Jersey. During the segment I also gained and ever greater appreciation for the sit ins at Woolworth nearly fifty years ago.

So for those reading this edition of The Critical Thinker,and not just those of us who are African American, we must understand our history in order for us to move forward and not repeat the mistakes of the past. We must take on the same spirit as our Jewish brothers and sisters whose mantra is "Never Again;" and teach our children and many of our adults about our history and not just the horrible parts; African Americans are descendants from Kings and Queens. That story must also be told. So I end this edition as I began in the words of Reverend Congressman Walter E. Fauntroy....."We Must Be Historians."

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