February 2, 2014
Black History Month: Day 2

Happy Black History Month!

Well, the big month has finally arrived. February is Black History Month and though much of the United States is blanketed under snow, traffic is stalled, schools are closed, and people are stranded, the celebrations can still continue.

Remember Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded (originally Negro History week) as a time to remember, study, and celebrate the contributions, bravery, and successes of the African American community in the U.S. and around the world. Following his original intent, I am making three suggestions that involve remembering, studying, and celebrating Black History Month.  Do one of these things each day and you will be a different (and more learned) person by the end of the month.

 Remember:  Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895)

 I will unite with anyone to do right and no one to do wrong! ~ Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was one of the great abolitionists, orators, and scholars of the 19th century.   Born into slavery, he escaped to freedom and dedicated his life to the abolition of slavery.  But also remember that this great man was dedicated to women’s rights, particularly the right to vote. These positions were brave, unpopular, and sometimes dangerous to take during that time.  He was even threatened with capture and being returned to the slave owner.  He met with presidents, assisted on the Underground Railroad, published a newspaper devoted to abolition, and tirelessly worked for equal rights. Frederick Douglass must never be forgotten because he changed life for many African Americans and for all women.

 Study:  Learn more about Frederick Douglass

If you live in the northern Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, D.C. area, visit the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.  He lived in this house until his death in 1895.  There are original pieces of furniture, clothing, and books. And the tour is fantastic.  For those who live too far away, visit the website at http://www.nps.gov/frdo/index.htm. There are a lot of fascinating information, stories, and anecdotes.

Frederick Douglass also wrote many books, including the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845) and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881). Both are excellent and easy books. You will not want to put them down!

 Celebrate:  Make a great meal featuring African American specialties!

Frederick Douglass loved his family and he loved food!  Many African American culinary specialties are handed down from the foods of slaves and African people.  This is nothing to be ashamed of or avoid. In fact, it is something to celebrate.   While many of these foods are not terribly healthy, they are the foods that on which African Americans lived and survived for hundreds of years.  The “slave kitchen” had many delicious dishes that have now been refined to modern African American cuisine:

  • Fried Chicken
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Gumbo
  • Fried fish
  • Cabbage with cracklings (pig skin)
  • Fried corn
  • Mustard or turnip greens
  • Red rice
  • Cornbread
  • Hoecakes
  • Pound cake
  • Peach cobbler
  • Sweet potato pie

It all looks and tastes delicious! Have a feast and make several of these dishes or choose just one to enjoy. And celebrate the ancestors!

Remember. Study. Celebrate.

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