Friday, February 20, 2009

Remembering the greats

As Black History Month comes to a close, I wanted to take the time to recognize some of the great African Americans who have made a difference in our world. From Sojourner Truth to Barack Obama, there are so many people who have knocked down doors and brought us a step closer to equality.

I am most touched by the story of Phillis Wheatley. During her short 31 years, she accomplished so much and helped people realize, including her slave master, that blacks were so much more than physical laborers.

Wheatley, who was brought to America as a slave in 1761 at the age of eight, became the most famous female poet of the eighteenth century. This was during a time when most blacks could not even read or write. Wheatley was freed in 1772, traveled to England, and even wrote a poem for President George Washington who later invited her to visit him. Who would have expected a woman, who acquired her name from a slave owner, to become a pioneer for blacks forever?

It’s so sad looking back on the approximately 200 years of enslavement that blacks suffered. The forced migration of Africans to America is the reason many African Americans today do not know their true roots. Despite this upsetting fact, there are so many people who have fought to make things better for all.

MPT wants to know what African American pioneers have impacted your life? It could be someone of fame, a local success, or even a relative. Do their past struggles fill you with pain or hope for a better tomorrow?

Also, check out the American Masters special, “Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice,” airing on MPT Wednesday, February 25 at 10:30 p.m. to learn about a Grammy-winning group of African American women who sing against injustice (and who just sang at the White House!). Later that week, we’ll be airing the two-hour television debut of Soulful Symphony—the nation’s only African American symphony—Saturday, February 28 at 6 p.m.

Renèe N. Gibson
Institutional Advancement Intern


Anonymous said...

President Obama has been a great inspiration to me and so many others.
What an awesome accomplishment for Black Americans, and other minorities. Although there have been so many great accomplishments for Blacks, they have not been in the forefront for all to see, not mentioned in our school books,etc. The youth of this generation will know with the inauguration of President Obama, that with hard work & God on my side, I can do anything.

Anonymous said...

President Obama has been an inspiring example that we can do it if we work hard at the pursuit of excellence. We can breath in knowing it really isn't just a dream it's a reality. My children are my greatest inspiration because children learn what they live and so I work extremely hard to ensure they are living in a productive, safe, God fearing, motivating, and healthy environment. They inspire me to reach higher so that when they reach they reach beyond me. If I am not reaching for anything then they end up with nothing. Nothing is never acceptable. They are boys which is also inspiring because they can carry on a family name and a legacy and they are essential in the future of our race and our culture. Each day they hold me accountable. I am inspired by the young lives that God has intrusted in my hands.

Tasha said...

Before the recent election of President Obama, I can say that my hero was Martin Luther King Jr. and don't get me wrong he still is. However, it is with great joy that I now have a CURRENT leader who I can look to as a pillar of understanding that "all things are possible". We truly can accomplish anything we put our hearts to and something that I once thought was just a saying to keep me motivated is now reality. Even more, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Martin Luther King Jr represented hope and the struggle. Now we (African Americans) no longer have to hope. Although America is still full of racism and there will still be struggles, a "Change" has come and for that I am truly grateful.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting read! She is very inspiring to all black women writers. Now, I want to read some of her work again.