A Student Perspective
Each month we're featuring a student's writing on a particular topic. Click below to read their piece.
When I first think of Black History Month, I think of Martin Luther King Jr. I’m not quite sure whether to say that’s a good or a bad thing, especially since MLK Day is in an entirely different month. Not to say MLK wasn’t an important figure in American History, but he definitely wasn’t the only one. As a kid, he was the one and only person I’d think about. Now as a 15-year-old, young black man, I think of Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Muhammad Ali, Katherine Johnson, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, Emmet Till, and the late John Lewis to name a few.
Even though their influence on black people within history varies between each person, all of these black figures have inspired me or changed my way of thinking in some way. I think MLK, along with the list of people I named, does a great job of showing that black people are so much more than basketball players, rappers, and former slaves.
We’re leaders, fighters, mathematicians; presidents and vice presidents; a wake-up call, Oscar nominees, poets, and pioneers. So, now as a 15-year-old, young black writer, athlete, and leader, I see Black History Month as a chance to learn, reflect, and be inspired by black people before and after Martin Luther King’s time.
Throughout history, women have been the unsung heroes in many stories. They have run countries and empires, created life-saving inventions, and fought for their own rights and the rights of others who have been oppressed. Yet, a lot of times, when we open our history books, women’s names are hardly mentioned, let alone taught about. The true weight of their contribution to society is often overlooked. That's why for me, Women’s History Month is a truly important time where we can bring to light and appreciate the accomplishments of women, who for centuries have fought for and paved the way for today’s women.
Women’s History Month is important in recognizing how God has used women from all places and all different walks of life to carry out His will. Through God, these women were pioneers who fought and led others in war, who created life-saving vaccines, who fought not only for their own rights in American Society through suffrage but also for the rights of African-Americans and other oppressed people. Their bravery and altruism are unrivaled. It is important that we take time to educate ourselves on female pioneers who have given so many people the opportunities to do what they love today. Women’s History Month allows us to shine a light on any ignorance we may have when looking at the true scale of women’s contributions to history.
I would love to bring attention to a few lesser-known heroines. The first of these is Patsy Mink. She was the first woman of color to get elected to Congress. She fought fiercely for gender, immigrant, racial, and education equality in the United States in a time when she received much backlash for her incredible and brave ideas and bills. Another incredible pioneer is Rosalind Franklin, who compiled the basis for Watson & Crick’s helical model of DNA; without her research, the model may not have been discovered for many years to come. She invited and encouraged other women to go into science! Belva Ann Lockwood is another incredible woman and was the first-ever woman to be on the ballot for a presidential election. Also, being a lawyer, she was also the first woman that argued her cases in front of the Supreme Court.
Ultimately, Women's History Month is a time that we should take to value the women that God has used throughout history to execute His plan not only for them but to lay the foundation so that we may follow His will for us today. We continue to see female pioneers push boundaries, but it is also important to recognize figures in history, including ancient civilizations, that were brave enough to risk everything to fight for their equality. Women’s History Month means the world to me for personal reasons, it gives me the opportunity to honor the strong, brave beautiful women in my own life. Women like my mother, grandmother, both successful entrepreneurs, my great-grandma who was a successful real estate agent, and my great great great grandmother who ran for Senate.