Black History Today 2019: An Introduction

“I live in the space of thankfulness — and for that, I have been rewarded a million times over. I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because — for sure — what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.”
-Oprah Winfrey

By Marcus Harden

I loathe funerals. I would imagine most people do. Yet, I despise them for different reasons than most would imagine. I hate funerals because I always wonder how glorious and useful the words, sentiments, expressions of love and gratitude would be to the departed (and those giving them) if they were around to hear and feel them.

As children, many of us experienced Black History Month as a repetitive loop that for years rolled out the same names, the same stories and the same assembly. While appreciated, I always wondered why the history-makers I saw in the communities currently living and breathing the espoused values of the familiar names — the Kings and X’s, Tubmans and Carvers, Alis and Winfreys — weren’t featured or talked about.

Thus began the Black History Today series to honor the everyday heroes in our communities, in people's lives, who live selflessly serving others without the fanfare they deserve. Of course, while writing, a funny thing happened. I thought this was just a platform for me to show gratitude to those who have filled my life with wisdom, joy and love. But then others joined in, and as I honored them, their spirits filled and honored me.

This year the spirit is the same. I am privileged and honored to be able to share 28 (maybe 29!) beautiful human beings who embody goodness, service, joy and love. Most of them don’t know yet that they’re being featured, as it’s a gift of gratitude from my head and heartspace. This list is never easy, and honestly, that’s what makes it so awesome to write, because there are so many everyday history-makers in all of our circles of influence. I am proud to share my list again this year through Rise Up for Students.

Please join me in celebrating these wonderful people by commenting, sharing your stories of them and sharing in the love of those who are indeed Black History, Today!