January is already a thing of the past, but not without availing us with some great information to help center the stage for our spending in 2022. Look for our show on "Tips to Supercharge Your Finances in 2022". Leave us a comment to let us know what you think.
It's February already! And it is the time of year when we pay homage to a group of people who have been in America since the 1600s. African Americans and all Black people who have made contributions to American society are celebrated this month in a variety of ways.
Black history does not purport to deny the existence of other histories. But it does bear witness to its own existence and highlights some of the essential contributions made by people of African descent and the diaspora.
The contributions are too numerous to capture in this blog, however, it might be interesting to recognize two Black Americans who have given to this country but are little known.
For instance, Maria W. Stewart, a free-born African American who was an educator, journalist, lecturer, abolitionist, and women's rights activist. Ms. Stewart was born in Connecticut in 1803 and passed away in 1879.
While her involvement in society may seem ordinary, it was a phenomenon for her day because slavery had not yet been abolished when she was born, even though she was born free and didn't come to an end until 1865.
Yet, Ms. Stewart had already made her mark on society by becoming the first known American woman—Black or white—to address a mixed audience of men and women, Black and white.
But that was not her only mark in history, she was also the first African American woman to give public lectures on women's rights and anti-slavery. Ms. Stewart was a powerful woman. In one of her declarations, she stated:
O, ye daughters of Africa,
awake! awake! arise! no
longer sleep nor slumber,
but distinguish yourselves.
Show forth to the world
that ye are endowed with
noble and exalted
A great book to read, which captures a small portion of her life, is by Marilyn Richardson. It's titled, Maria W. Stewart: America's First Black Woman Political Writer, Indiana University Press, 1988. It was that book that first introduced me to Ms. Stewart back in graduate school, and I have admired her ever since.
There were many like her. One was Anna Julia Cooper, a prominent Black figure when it was not fashionable to be superior as a woman and especially as a Black woman living in the south. But there she was, another educator and writer.
In fact, Ms. Cooper's book, A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South in 1892, revealed just how prominent she was. It was a display of intelligence almost unheard of by whites but quietly boasted about among her people. Ms. Cooper did quite a bit of living.
She was born somewhere around 1858, several years before slavery had ended. Yet, she did not pass away until February 1964, five months before the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.
Imagine having been born into slavery and died just before the signing of a landmark law which was supposed to have outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation and gender identity. Another woman I met in graduate school and came to admire.
Celebrate Black history in your own way. If you are looking to develop further your knowledge of the history of these two women, take the opportunity to deepen your understanding through some of their works. I found them both to be intriguing and informative.
Until next time, keep flying on your own wings.