Each year in the United States “Black History Month” is celebrated in February. During this month we remember the many great contributions of black folk throughout our history, whether they were slaves or abolitionists or fought for civil rights or simply contributed to the prosperity of this country through inventions, hard work, or strength of character.
Many of the wrongs perpetrated against blacks in America have been righted or are being righted. Slavery has long been abolished. Segregation is illegal. The Civil Rights Acts has been the law of the land for decades. Racism and prejudice still exist but many of the most egregious abuses of black people are in the history books. As a nation we must continue the fight against injustice and bigotry.
Black History Month is a necessary part of our national repentance from wrongs committed against black people. When Zacchaeus met Jesus he told the Lord he would give half his wealth to the poor and if he had defrauded anyone he would repay fourfold. His repentance was measured in changed behavior and restitution. To justify slavery many of our nation’s founders denigrated the dignity and value of those brought from Africa to work in their fields. Africans were just 60% human, according to the original Constitution of the United States. Slaves were mere chattel—possessions to be used and disposed of according to the wishes of the owner.
American slavery was a direct attack on the image of God in men and women and children whose skin was dark. Because racism and prejudice seeks to undervalue a person’s worth solely on the basis of one’s skin color, part of our national repentance must be a public recognition of the inherent dignity and value of those who are black. That is the goal of Black History Month.
This month we will publish several brief biographies of various black men and women in American history, detailing their contributions to this nation.