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THE BROADNESS OF BLACK HISTORY

 

Paul Schneidmill

 

As the last week of February 2005 comes to a close (time of writing – Thursday, February 24, 2005) with grateful acknowledgment that February has been nationally designated as Black History Month, I will briefly postpone continuance of the series presented during the last three weeks on the attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ; to give recognition to Black History. 

 

Being a child of God who is also Black, I’m very pleased that there is a month designated to remember, honor, and celebrate the contributions, sacrifices, and work Black people have provided toward the development of the history of mankind, both in the United States of America and all around the world.  The history of Black people is amazing, incredible, powerful and extremely broad. 

 

I’m also very pleased that the title of the month of recognition is called “Black History Month” and not “African-American History Month.” 

 

During the time of my upbringing (1960’s), I observed the title designation of the people of my heritage to fluctuate between “Colored,” “Negro,” and “Black.”  In the 1970’s I began to finally and happily settle with the term “Black” when referring to myself, and others of my heritage.  Admittedly, I briefly considered the notion of referring to myself as “Brown,” like Avery Brooks (the exceptional Black actor and drama Professor who led a television series cast as the first Black Space-station Commander in the “Star Trek” franchise), who considered himself as being a “Brown Man.”  However, in the 1990’s when Black people began to be primarily identified and termed as “African Americans,” like Rosa Parks’ landmark action in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, I chose not to move.

 

I acknowledge accept, and appreciate the fact that a portion of my ancestry originated in Africa, but my reasoning for choosing to remain identifiable as a Black American as opposed to an “African-American is two-fold and simple:

 

First, of the two primary people groups who came to this country to set in motion the initial development of what is now known as “American History” (Europeans – voluntarily, and Africans – involuntarily), the former is not now, nor has ever been known or termed as “European Americans.”

 

Secondly, I’m not a big fan of hyphenated names (when you are able, research a great quote by Theodore Roosevelt that conveys his and belief and mine, that there is no such thing as a “hyphenated American”).           

 

Now, about Black History Month; it is irrelevant that Black History Month takes place within the shortest calendar month, as some people have taken issue with as being unfair to Black people.  That is because when Carter G. Woodson initiated what originally was “Black History Week,” he chose have it recognized during the second week of February because it was the week of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and also because it was believed to be the week of Frederick Douglass birthday.  “Black History Week” later expanded to “Black History Month” in the same month of its origin.  For that, I am grateful.

 

Regarding Black History itself, long before there was any inkling of thought pertaining to an America (or any of the other countries currently in operation); there were Black people who served God throughout Biblical history to such admirable and excellent proportions, that their contributions, sacrifices, and work must also be remembered, honored, and celebrated toward the totality of Black History.

 

Here’s a short roll-call list:

 

Nimrod was a champion hunter, king, and city developer who conducted his activities in the service of the Lord (Genesis 10:8-11). 

 

A fellow named Hobab was instrumental, and by Moses’ account, necessary (Numbers 10:31) in guiding the Israelites through the desert areas when they departed from the region of Sinai during the Exodus.

 

A valiant Black woman named Rahab wisely aided and abetted Joshua’s reconnaissance team during an intelligence-gathering mission in the city of Jericho (Joshua 2:1-7).  

 

Uriah the Hittite epitomized and exuded the quality of integrity vital to the professionalism of the soldier that he was.  During a fictitious furlough engineered by King David, the king tried several times to entice Uriah to go home and make love to his wife (a Black woman named Bath-Sheba, whom David must’ve thought looked like Halle Berry).  Uriah resolutely refused, stating in essence, “While my fellow troops are at war, I will not go home to play.( 2 Samuel 11:11)

 

The Queen of Sheba came instrumentally to King Solomon to validate the unparalleled wisdom he had received from God (1 Kings 10:1-9).

 

Ebed-melech was the courageous gentleman that rescued the prophet Jeremiah from a miry dungeon (Jeremiah 38:11) while Judah’s leadership operated in a state of confusion as they faced Babylonian aggression.

 

There’s an un-named man having great authority under the Ethiopian Queen (Candace), who was the first-recorded Black acceptor and recipient of the Gospel in the book of Acts (Acts 8:26-39).

 

Simeon and Lucius were two prophets and teachers who served the Lord with sacrificial diligence to seek His will for the first-century Church (Acts 13:1-3), and a Cyrenian named Simon helped Christ carry the Cross to the place of His crucifixion (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26).                          

 

As previously stated, I’m very pleased that there is a month designated to remember, honor, and celebrate the contributions, sacrifices, and work Black people have provided toward the development of the history.  It’s actually quite a broad history, especially when realized in the higher context that is His (God’s) Story.

 

  Copyright © Paul Schneidmill