This month I’m celebrating Black History Month. I don’t assume that all folks do, and I don’t assume that everyone knows that in March we’ll celebrate women and their accomplishments. But I’ve been reading a little each day about people of African descent, particularly women, who have helped shape these United States.
The older I get, the more I realize that history is not so much about the past as it is about how past voices and actions affect people today. What I did yesterday is history. It would be fine to think of it all as past if life afforded us the opportunity to live life one frame at a time. But life is a journey in which each action affects the next. Here are a couple people I’m celebrating:
Barbara Jordan, lawyer, politician, teacher and the first Black woman to serve the Texas Legislature, 1967-1973, and the U.S. House of Representatives, 1973-1979. She said it this way: “Just remember, the world is not a playground but a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday but an education. One eternal lesson for us all: to teach us how better we should love.”
My favorite quote about life I learned from Ms. Bailey, my fifth grade teacher, a single woman who gave her life to loving and preparing children for life. She gave me these words from George Washington Carver, the scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor who created more than 100 products from the peanut: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”
Whether born in 1864 or the 1930s or later, our lives, our history-herstory, each day shapes what will happen tomorrow.
I hope we are kind today in our history making.