Black history month is celebrated by people of African descent all over the world. America, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom all celebrate Black History month. American history specifically is special because of the way blacks entered America. From slavery, to the post-slavery era, to Jim Crow and segregation, blacks have been intentionally excluded from life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Slaves were excluded from living areas and prosperity as slave masters accumulated wealth on the back of another’s work. Blacks were excluded from restaurants, movies, public spaces, and seats on buses during the Jim Crow era. By natural process of the system, blacks were excluded from American history education. Black history month is an opportunity to showcase a history, which was once excluded, on a broad stage. Black history month is not a specific ploy to exonerate one race over another.
Black Americans’ progress, from slavery to modern times, is a journey filled with adversity, danger, heartache, and violence. The journey continues but has overcome a lot. Blacks’ journey is a meaningful factor to a large population of Americans whose history serves as a reminder that the possibility to fight through adverse times can produce a better future for those you love. No other race in America has endured mass slavery, mass segregation, and mass disdain.
Hebrews 13 gives Christian people a charge to “remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” The text contains a word called hegoumenoi (HAY-goo-men-oy) that was transliterated to mean “guided” or "lead". The purpose of the text is to challenge Christian people to allow the lives of past Christian leaders to guide them to the same eternal destiny, which is Heaven. In a simpler sense, the Hebrew writer was challenging fellow Christians to follow the leader through a way of life that produces a Heavenly destination. Following successful people is especially necessary when the journey runs right through the core of adversity.
Black History month is an opportunity to follow the leaders whom we may not know as much about. While we may not agree with their theology, we do agree with their principles of equal justice, respect for all people, hope, and perseverance which are Biblical in nature. Black history month provides an opportunity to learn characteristics of Jesus from people who lived in times past and overcame adversity.
Black History month is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to be empathic. It’s an opportunity to share in the exact same empathy that Harriet Tubman felt. Black History month is an opportunity to lead like Frederick Douglass. It’s an opportunity to save like Marshall Keeble. It’s an opportunity to build like Jack Evans. It's an opportunity to teach like Elizabeth Saunders. It’s an opportunity to follow or acknowledge the work of leaders in the past that produced a favorable outcome in their earthly lives. Black History month is an opportunity to follow leaders through both new paths and traditional ones.
Woodson, C.G. (1926). Negro History Week, Journal of Negro History, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 238–242.
Lewis, J. P. (2006). Exegesis of difficult passages. Henderson, TN: Hester Publications.