Black History Month is about liberation and getting closer to my roots by acknowledging and highlighting the pioneers who came before us. My most poignant memories of Black History were examples of those with very little giving their very best. Amid poverty, lynching, violence, and unmentionable living conditions, many were able to laugh. Enslaved people were short on words but found themselves long on faith.
For me, Black History unfolded around a large kitchen table where we find granny making her famous sweet potato pies. My grandmother told stories about struggles and victories and taught me lessons with rich anecdotes and one-liner philosophies. My father told stories of the difficulties of farming land owned by white southerners, and the hours he spent plowing fields in the hot Florida sun. His recollection of our history brought sorrow to his face. I remember mom's lessons on Black History being the best; they always came with a snack, fresh orange juice, or hot cocoa. Her lessons in Black History challenged me to be valiant and sometimes to show vulnerability.
Celebrating Black History is an example of a people making a way out of no way; relentlessly having to find safety and sanctity inside of themselves and knowing they would not have survived had they not.
My hope for the Christian Church (DOC) in observation of Black History month is this: Our sanctuaries, offices, living rooms, our kitchens, and backyards will be filled with the extraordinary stories and contributions of formerly enslaved people. I pray that our congregations will feel or see something in the stories and lives of my ancestors and that they will be informed and inspired by the stories and events.
Let us have the courage to expose institutional racism in our communities. Let us avoid investing in organizations with poor human rights track records. Let us model the ideal of diversity, build bridges of mutual understanding and trust, and let us be proactive rather than reactive to racism. Let us celebrate Black History by being the model of God's dominion in everything we do so that we can be a light to the nations.
Mel Cobb, PSR/DFS M.Div. Student
Note from Editor: In honor of Black History Month, DSF has invited board members, students, and graduates to share their reflections on this annual celebration. Each of them has been asked to answer the following three questions:
1. What does Black History Month mean to you?
2. How do you/your church celebrate Black History Month?
3. How would you like our Church to honor Black History Month?
We invite you to take a little bit of time out of your day to join us in reflection.