Written by: Stephanie M. Jackson, M.Ed. M.A. of H.O.P.E. Eternally, LLC
“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”
~Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Happy Black History Month from the Minority Mental Health Project! It is an honor and privilege to pay homage to African Americans who’ve come before us and to recognize the brilliance among us in the moments that we live and breathe. Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month, in order to disseminate information on Black History and control the narrative of our stories. Over the course of the past 400+ years, steadily since 1619 when the first ship of enslaved Africans arrived in North America, African-Americans began to reclaim power and identity. In doing so, we are taking up space, getting back to our roots and discovering our ancestral lineage in order to gain a better understanding of who we are and where we come from as well as embracing the strength, creativity and resilience of our ancestors.
February is also #BoostSelfEsteemMonth. Based on www.verywellmind.com, self-esteem includes your sense of belonging, feelings of competence and how you see yourself. This is a perfect time to capitalize on the momentum and energy surrounding new beginnings and fresh starts for 2023. To build and maintain healthy self-esteem, it is imperative that African Americans of all ages see mirrored examples of others exercising courage, wisdom, and dedication in order to realize the possibilities of our own greatness.
Celebrating Black History Month can and will continue to perpetuate positive narratives of Black Brilliance and Excellence, thus correcting incomplete narratives limited to only the struggle of Black people. Reflecting on last month’s blog about mentorship works hand in hand with boosting the self-esteem of individuals of all ages, especially our youth who are struggling with their mental health. Exposing others to examples of Black History makers shine light on the pathways to possibilities for others. Some of these Black History Trailblazers include: Tammera L. Holmes, President & CEO of AeroStar Consulting Corporation and Founder of Avion Institute NFP; Dr. Philip Emeagwali, inventor and computer scientist known as the “Bill Gates of Africa”; Gwen Jimmere, Founder & CEO of Naturalicious – an international beauty company that can be found in over 2,500 stores worldwide; and Jean-Michel Basquuiat, a self-taught artist and painter and youngest artist ever to showcase his work at the Kestner-Gesellschaft Gallery in Hanover, Germany. These individuals offer mirrored present-day realities of more positive narratives of Black Excellence. Furthermore, celebrating Black History Month can help unlock potential, boost self-esteem, improve mental health outcomes, create more positive narratives of African Americans and will re-educate the human race.
Resources for Further Inquiry
Resources to learn more about Dr. Carter G. Woodson & Black History Month
1619 Docuseries on Hulu
Resources to learn more about Self-Esteem