I love to read, but I must admit that I’m not as avid of a reader as I’d like to be (or portray to be). Not to mention, prior to my recent interest in self-help and Christian books, I was mostly into steamy fiction novels by Eric Jerome Dickey and the like 🙄 *looks the other way* lol
I read a lot of books off the “typical” reading lists in elementary, middle and high school with an occasional autobiography – preferably athletes (bonus if they were athlete and Black or Latino). But I’m not sure I’ve ever been much of a history book reader. I remember always diving into the black history section homework and readings in middle and highschool, but outside of that and a little Zora Neale Hurston and a 10 page research paper on James Weldon Johnson, I haven’t been much of a history reader.
February is Black History month in the States (and Canada). And so far this month, I’ve been really considering what black history I know (hell, what black present info do I know). And as I scroll up and down timelines I’m learning all kinds of tidbits I didn’t previously know. Those that really catch my eye, I dive a little deeper and do a google search and try to learn more. And naturally, I’m inspired by people and their lives and their innovativeness and their audacity to dream and their tenacity and their blackness and their heritage and much more.
And in doing some of these searches and learning now, I’ve thought about how I know what I know up to this point. I know I can credit much of my understanding and learning of facts, truths (and some lies and mistruths) about American and Black History via conversations at home, lack luster school history classes, Pan-African studies courses, reading, museum visits, movies, tv, radio, documentaries and social media. But I think one of the forms that I haven’t given much credit, is video. Due to the fact I wasn’t picking up many books on history, a lot of my youth and adult life has relied heavily on the importance of watching history. Whether I was visiting a museum or sitting in class or on my couch at home – a tv special, documentary or movie has played an important role in my learning and understanding of my history as an American and a Black (and Latino) woman. I’m so thankful for those who’ve made their life’s work to educate via video – I’ve definitely benefited from their craft.
I’m curious, what has influenced your knowledge of Black and American history most? What forms of media do you think has influenced your learning most?