students reflect on what black history month means to them
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion asked Franklin Pierce students to write
down there thoughts about what Black History Month means to them. The following are
a sample and writings submitted by our students who have shared their thoughts.
The writing prompt was simply “Tell us what Black History Month Means to You.”
What Black History Month Means to Me
By: Rachel Strout
The way I feel about Black History Month is that it is a chance
To better myself, to become less ignorant, to be a better part of society.
But the more I learn, the more disturbed I become.
I become disturbed by the fact that
Every teacher I know that claims they don’t see color
Only chooses articles or books by people of color in February,
Like the other 11 months are granting permission to explore
New ideas and new experiences
This one time.
I become disturbed by this in the same way I am disturbed by the fact that
I only learn about these prominent figures that made a difference in my life
when I should have been learning about them
All year long.
It’s great that I am learning, but there shouldn’t need to be a special time carved out
To teach a history that is as much a part of my life as any other.
I was in class today and was sitting next to a black man. He said that he’d been warned
Of the dangers of the world when he was younger, and I, a white woman, could relate,
See, we are taught to fear other people.
He calls himself a black man. He was taught to fear white people.
I call myself a white woman. I was taught to fear men.
We are being taught to fear each other.
Our experiences will always be different, they really can’t be compared.
But we both still feel that same fear every day.
Maybe Black History Month can help us all, so we won’t have to fear.
Maybe then Black History Month can be the celebration it is meant to be.
What Black History Means to Me
By: Rich Rosa
There are many reasons why Black History is important to me. To start off, I believe it is vital for all of us to learn about the famous African Americans who contributed great things to American society. It is essential to know about Martin Luther King, Jr, a civil rights activist during the Civil Rights Moment in the 1950s and 1960s. As citizens of this country, we all need to learn about black excellence and how famous people have shaped our world. It is not only in politics where there has been black excellence. There is black excellence in sports, and there have been many great athletes, such as Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Michael Jordan, and Lebron James. Another thing that Black History is important to me is that we learn about their stories about how people became successful. It was interesting to read about famous African Americans and how they made their mark on the community by serving others. We all need to know how they changed the culture of the United States and how people are still being activists to change some of the social injustices that are happening in our country. It is crucial for us to learn about black excellence and how they strived for greatness with integrity. There are many examples where African Americans have changed the world, and we as people need to honor them all for everything they have accomplished. It is incredible to learn about famous people who achieved difficult things. I encourage everyone to learn about some prominent African Americans.
A Young Woman
By: Floribeth Joseph
First of Many
To Achieve an American Dream
Breaking Generational Curses
First generation American
First generation college student
On her shoulders
A lineage of hard workers
All for moments like these
Dreams of privilege for her kin
A Young Woman
She must be perfect
Must be studious
Must be successful
There's no room
A Young Woman
What Black History Month Means to Me
By: Jim Oakes
Black History Month means supporting.
My friends. My neighbors. Strangers. Supporting my friend who feels unsafe in her
predominantly white town where the police openly discussed “slaughtering” Black
residents. Supporting my partner who’s learning to love their Black heritage from years
of wishing they were white. Supporting Black-owned businesses and creators who are
continuously overlooked. Supporting those whose white families did not make them
immune to the racism they were not prepared for. Not supporting my own community’s
idols when they profited off a culture they’re not even a part of.
Black History Month means mourning.
Trayvon Martin (17). Tamir Rice (12). Emmett Till (14). Breonna Taylor (26). George
Floyd (46). Daunte Wright (20). Andre Hill (47). Tanesha Anderson (37). India Kager
(27). Manuel Ellis (33). Eric Garner (43). Michael Brown (18). Stephon Clark (22).
Aiyana Jones (7). The thousands of others unjustly killed since the beginning. Justice is
barely served, but can you achieve true justice when a loved one is dead?
Black History Month means celebrating.
If we mourn, we must also celebrate Black excellence. The ones that persisted. The ones
that asked the hard-hitting questions when nobody else would. The ones that started
revolutions. The ones just trying to live in a country that profited off them and, when
that wasn’t legal anymore, threw them away or found loopholes. Black people built
America. Black people gave America culture. Black people gave America life. Yet, the
credit is still way overdue. Instead of using the mic, we must pass the mic.
Black History Month means reflecting.
How much of an ally have I been? Where was I lacking? Where was I enough? How do I
establish minority solidarity in a time where that can seem so unattainable? How do we
deconstruct a whole system built on racism? How do we find justice? How do we stop
the 36 states that want to silence racism? How did African American Vernacular English
(AAVE) get devalued to “Gen Z” talk? Why do we only talk about this after a tragedy?
Above all else, Black History Month means supporting, celebrating, mourning,
and reflecting beyond the 28 days. How did the shortest month end up being the one
with the most to talk about?
By: Amiah Johnson
Time is history
History is torture
Torture comes with overcoming
Overcoming the reality of skin color
Skin color doesn’t define who we are
We are individuals none the same
The same is the opposite as different
Different people mean different personalities
Personalities matter less
Matter less than what’s on the inside
Inside is where our hearts beat
beating inside our bodies
Bodies exhausted and broken down
Broken down from the societal ideals
Ideals ever changing
Changing our thoughts
Thoughts becoming voices
Voices now protests
Protests mean rights
Rights we all should have
Equality is opportunities
Opportunities given by time
Time is what
What is our history and understanding