Black History Month is upon us

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February is from Latin februa, meaning “to cleanse,” and was named after the Roman month-long festival of atonement. It was also the Roman month honoring the dead. This February 2024 is a calendar-correcting Leap Year. I tragically lost my beloved younger sister on Leap Day 2000. Not only was her sudden absence devastating, but we also missed out on what she would have become.

Due to racism, hate, and oppression, we have all missed out on so much that could have been. Black History Month is important to remind us of what we might have missed and what we have lost. Censoring or denying the history of the United States, even a little, causes our peception to be skewed.

For example, last Thanksgiving I visited colonial Londontowne and Gardens in Edgewater, Maryland. After an hour touring the twenty-three-acre gardens and architecture built by the English in 1683, I came upon a sign overlooking the South River that explained how Londontowne is an UNESCO Slave Route Project “Site of Memory”. The sign included the haunting image of slaves crammed into rows on a ship, like cargo. In that moment, my perception of Londontowne transformed from charming to chilling.

Conversely, I recently visited the historic town of St. Michaels, Maryland, also on the Chesapeake, with its elite resorts, yacht clubs, and conservative politics. In the middle of the quaint main street, I came upon a memorial to Frederick Douglas, who was enslaved there until he escaped North in 1836. Douglas taught himself to read, became a noted abolitionist and orator, and conducted clandestine schools for African-Americans. That memorial shifted my negative impression of St. Michaels as solidly right-wing to a place that recognizes its history, no matter how negative and honors its Africa-American heritage.

We must honor former slave Sojourner Truth who became a renowned abolitionist and women’s rights activist; freed slave Cudjo Lewis who, fearing his birthland culture may be erased, purchased two acres and started a community of fellow survivors of the 160 who arrived with him on the slave ship, creating Africatown in Alabama; former slave Frank McWorter known as “Free Frank” who founded New Philadelphia, Illinois, in 1836, dedicated to freedom.

By documenting our history we can learn from our mistakes, starting with rejecting one Republican Presidential Primary candidate from South Carolina who denies slavery was the cause of the Civil War, and the other who lies about everything.

We must re-elect Joe Biden, who served as Vice President to America’s first black President, Barack Obama, and whose Vice President, Kamala Harris, is the first black and first female ever elected to the second-highest office. Under Biden the Black unemployment rate is lower than any president in history.

Biden just won the first official 2024 Democratic Presidential Primary that he urged Democrats to move from predominantly white Iowa and New Hampshire to the more diverse South Carolina, where he won with 95% of the vote. That’s a great start Black History Month.

Trump is on trial! If each of you reading this can kick in $10 or $25, it'll help keep Palmer Report firing on all cylinders at this crucial time in our nation's history: Donate now
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