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Blacks must continue to tell our own stories

caines | 2/7/2013, 4:30 a.m.

The first few days of February are already upon us and for Blacks that means we have once again turned our attention to celebrating Black History Month. As usual, therell be plenty of concerts, conversations and community events that will target Black families. And while we are sure theyll be entertaining, whats most important is that they engage our minds and enlighten us as a people. More than anything else, Black History Month is about telling our stories and passing down our history to the next generation. How many of us are aware that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s I Have a Dream speech, given at the historic March on Washington? Did you know that February 4th would have been the 100th birthday of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks? Telling our own stories is crucial because when others call the roll, they usually get it wrong. Parks participation in the Montgomery bus boycott is one example. Contrary to popular belief, she did not remain seated because she was tired. Parks refused to stand up on that segregated Alabama bus out of principle she believed that the law at that time was unjust and she was no longer willing to comply. When Malcolm X was murdered on Feb. 21, 1965, he was painted as an advocate for violence and one who harbored great hatred for whites. Again, that was not the real Malcolm. What he did believe, unlike Dr. King, is that justice should be achieved by any means necessary and that there might come a time when violence would serve as the only means of bringing about change. It seems he was more of a realistic that as a harbinger of violence. These and other stories must be told again and again if for no other reason than to encourage todays youth to follow more positive paths. As an African proverb states, If the lions dont tell the story, the tale of the hunt will be glorified by the hunter.