A month to come together

Madeline Henderson

The month of February is not only the time for watching the Academy Awards but also the month where Afro-Americans celebrate Black History month.

We give honor to those blacks who gave of themselves to make this a better country to live in.

We have black men like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, President Barack Obama and to our black women like Rosa Parks, who refused to move to the back of the bus. The president dedicated at the White House a stature in the memory of Rosa Parks for what she did during the Civil Rights Movements.

It is good to see the film industry acknowledging Afro-Americans for the work they have done in the movies.

In the past 30 years especially in the 2000s there has been 13 Afro-Americans who have won Academy Awards for their work in the film industry.

Also in the world of music the black singers and musicians are being recognized for their work in the music world.

During the days of the Civil Rights Movement I was pretty young but I do remember hearing people talking about this movement would help the Black race of people to have the same rights as other races of people in this country.

I was told about the dogs, the police, and the violence in many cities throughout this country fighting for that right to have better jobs, schools, homes and the right to go any where they chose to.

I didn’t know that much about racism because I was born in Montana and raised in Wyoming and Colorado. I attended school in Wyoming where there were about 20 Black families living there. When I was young I had a lot of Caucasians friends but when we reached High School, they did not want to be associated with me because of the color of my skin.

I moved to Kansas City, Missouri and applied for a job at a little hole in the wall restaurant that had been there for many years. The other waitress and the cook quit the job because they refused to work with a black person. Even the customers did not want me to wait on them, this was in 1965. The manager told me he had to let me go because they had been working with him a long time. He told me he did not know why people could be so ignorant because he grew up in the state of Nebraska where racism was not a problem. I really thought that racism was only happening in the south but I was definitely wrong because it was happening on the West coast too. I moved to Oakland, California in the 1960s. In east Oakland there were signs all over the area warning minorities that if they were Asian, Mexican or black, there were no apartments or houses available to rent or buy. I was shocked when I called about renting an apartment on 77th avenue in Oakland and the manager asked me if I was one of the minorities and I told her I was black and she told me “Sorry the apartment has been rented”. I just could not believe this and I wondered what is this world coming to? I was thankful for the housing discrimination to come to a close due to the housing bill that was passed here in California giving Blacks and other minorities a chance to rent or buy houses and apartments anywhere they chose to live. Yes we have come a long ways since the Civil Rights but we still have a ways still to go in this struggle for freedom and equality.

Let it really mean something to all of us, this Black History Month, not just to the Afro-Americans but let us all take a stand with faith in our brother or sister no matter what color their skin may be and we can build a strong country for every man, woman and child to live in peace.