We're on the verge of celebrating Black History Month. I have to agree with many who believe that "Black History" should be celebrated and remembered throughout the whole year (as should other communities and their history). Living in such a way where we can appreciate and celebrate the accomplishments of each other while still progressing in a common society can be an interesting web to weave, but it can be done.
Education is a topic that is of importance today as in days gone by. I am the granddaughter of grandparents that attended Bishop College in Texas (it was an Historic Black College that is now closed). My grandparents migrated from the South in hopes of a better life in the West. I am a California girl true and through, however, as I see the significant accomplishments of our forefathers, I feel we've lost ground when we don't support our African American educational institutions.
I recently saw a documentary about a school called Bordentown that was located in New Jersey. It was a Manual Training Industrial School from 1886 - 1948 (I believe the doors actually closed in the mid 1950's). Some referred to it as the "Tuskegee of the North." It was a co-ed boarding school that trained its students in the various skills of the day. The time period between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement marked the height of these institutions such as Piney Woods in Mississippi, Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania, Boggs Academy in Georgia, Gilbert Academy in New Orleans, Snow Hill Institute in Alabama, Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, Palmer Memorial Institute and Mather Schools in Beaufort and Camden South Carolina among others. This list does not include the numerous HBCU's (ie: Howard, Hampton, Tuskegee, Morehouse, and Spelman to name a few) that have educated many of our leaders over the years.
Growing up in California, I was not as aware of the significance and importance of our historical higher educational institutions as I am today. (Even though my grandparents were products of such a school). However, as a mother I exposed both of my children of the options that were open to them with these schools. My daughter attended Spelman College (she is currently the Vice President of the Los Angeles Alumnae), while my son chose to attend a UC school here in Southern California. I'm glad they knew they had options and choices.
In 2003 I had the honor of being the Founder's Day Speaker at Piney Woods for their 29th Annual Founder's Day and the 95th Anniversary Celebration. Dr. Charles Beady was the President and I was so honored to partake in that historic moment. So in celebrating Black History Month I encourage all of us to make a donation to an African American Educational Institution. If you're not sure how you can celebrate or honor Black History Month, get involved with "Our Authors Study Club" an affiliate of Dr. Carter G. Woodson. For more information contact Mordena Moore at 310.745.8773.
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