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St. Jude Radiothon 2024

It’s February and the chocolate factories went into overdrive. It was a bad month to be a rose, too. This month, millions of dollars were spent to express love and friendship.

But February is also Black History Month, the month designated to acknowledge blacks for their contribution to American history. I have no doubt that the intentions are well-meaning — it represents our country’s noble but futile effort to “get beyond” an embarrassing moment in our history.

But it was not just a moment. It was several centuries, and many people are still rebounding from it. But as bleak as the centuries of slavery were, the greater injury is that all people don’t recognize that black history is really American history.

It is part of the American story. I think more and more people of all colors understand that for what it is. We mustn’t be afraid to speak about slavery, because those things we cover up cannot heal. Nor can we be held hostage, as if history incarcerates our destiny.

Like a molested child doesn’t find it healthy to be defined by the darkness of his or her past, African Americans can’t allow ourselves to be defined by that reprehensible period no matter how horrendous it may have been. All Americans must learn that honesty does not equate to disloyalty or make us unpatriotic.

American history isn’t merely a collection of accomplishments without contradictions, no more than any one person is a collection of rights without wrongs. America is a resilient nation with a mandate to move forward, evolve, and refuse to go back to old, discredited landmarks.

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