black history month melancholy

Black (Brown) History Month is a sad time for me. I watch as people post a mere inch of who we are as brown people on Earth, leaving out the many miles of our existence. I read endlessly on my feed about our colonized moments in time, the sad and annoying inch, interrupting our ability to see all of who we are and were, see our complexity, diversity, ingenuity, creativity, our vast and rich existence upon this globe. I don’t mind seeing Rosa Parks and Malcom X, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. We can talk about Phillis Wheatley and Scott Joplin, Marcus Garvey and Ethel Waters. But I also want to talk about Timbuktu, ancient city of Mali that flourished beginning in the 12th century. Tell me about the university in Timbuktu, one of the oldest universities on Earth, housing ancient documents I may never have the opportunity to read. I want to learn about the people of Tasmania, who were nearly annihilated by colonizers. Tell me about the vastness of the Zulu nation that once comprised nearly 3/4 of the continent; what was their life like? What is left of them and the people they once were? Teach me about the Twa (misnamed Pygmy) and their vast history that has extended for as long as they can remember. Show me how to speak Xhosa, a language formed including clicks as part of the phonetics. Expose me to the nine dialects. Let’s speculate on the Walls of Benin and what the creators imagined it to be when they started it around 800 AD. My brown brothers of North America, many once blacker than the blackest African, enslaved and raped of their land, our land, what was a teepee made of? Let’s honor “The Ritual of the Little Black People” of Taiwan, who after being slaughtered into virtual extinction, are now celebrated yearly by the Saisiyat tribe. Let’s talk about the lost matriarchies of nearly every brown culture on Earth. Who were the Dahomey Amazon women? The Oyo Empire? How did the Yorubas unfold culturally? Let’s gather up our history like lost children and speak them into remembrance. “We are not a people of yesterday,” Ayi Kwei Armah wrote in his novel, Two Thousand Seasons. Our people have witnessed hundreds of thousands of seasons on Earth. Speak our seasons into remembrance. This inch we now claim and celebrate is not all that we are. We are many seasons and miles of story and life, song and dance. Tell it all. Remember.

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