The Intersection of History, Race, Democracy, Technology, and Social Justice | DeLois Strum


By DeLois Strum

Welcome to February a/k/a "Black History Month." This month-long celebration commemorates the many contributions of African Americans dating back to the first Africans stolen and brought here to establish the American "economy."

Black history month grew out of "Negro History Week," the brainchild of noted historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Since 1976, every US president officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

The Black experience in America began in 1619 with the first permanent English Colony in North America. Onboard the privateer ship White Lion, a turning point in American history, a group of "twenty and odd" enslaved Africans landed at Point Comfort in colonial Virginia. US democracy was conflicted from the start, with the first elected assembly and first slave sales happening in 1619. These events have profoundly shaped life in the US we know today.

Fast-forward to the year 2022, I am reminded that "the more things change, the more they remain the same."

400+ years after the first enslaved people were brought here against their will, under harsh living conditions, enslaved, "set free" in 1865, subjected to taxation and military service, denied the voting franchise until 1965, African Americans remain marginalized in this 21st C. We find ourselves revisiting the "same old fight." We fight to vote, to control our bodies, to avoid the shackles of an unjust criminal system; we fight to survive!

But there is a 21st C equalizer, technology! The cellphone camera is 290M+ strong in the US alone, providing lift and allies to the ongoing fight for social justice and racial equity. As they say in the Black community: "Who are you to believe? Me, or your lying eyes.#@!?". I'm betting on the Gen Z, people of goodwill, and technology, to be the game-changer (s) Black America has been waiting on.

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