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Welcome to the MomsRising blog carnival celebrating Black History Month!

Black History Month offers us all a chance to come together and share the many ways we learn about the past and how we pass on our experiences to the next generation. We can lift up unsung heroes and notable characters from our own family histories, as well as discuss contemporary lessons from well-known figures like the Moses of her day, Harriet Tubman, the dreamer for us all, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the bold, revolutionary spirit known as Malcolm X.

For my own organization, the National Council of Negro Women, Black History Month is a time to celebrate our incredibly rich and wondrous past by remembering amazing accomplishments and even more amazing she-roes and heroes who achieved against the odds to make the impossible now a commonplace reality.  This Black History Month was even more special than normal for NCNW.  Just the other day we celebrated the renaming of Washington DC’s historic Post Office in honor of our long-time leader and visionary stalwart, Dr. Dorothy I. Height.  This event marks the first time in history a federal building in the nation’s capitol has been named after an African American woman.  The next time you’re near Union Station, drop by and visit this historic building named after our own historic civil rights and women’s rights icon, our dear, Dorothy.

As for myself, I have a very personal love-affair with Black History Month. I have since my earliest memories absolutely loved learning about the past of my people.  Certainly, encouraged by the stories of pride, accomplishments, and unbelievable bravery and ingenuity my mother and grandmother shared with me while reflecting on their own experiences living in the Jim Crow South. The stories they shared are too voluminous to provide in this venue, but of particular inspiration to me was their creative way of overcoming boundaries to the education they valued so dearly.

As a child of Virginia, Jim Crow ran deep.  Of course, during my mother’s formative years, not only did she experience segregated schools as was typical of that time, but what many who did not live that experience may not know is that not only were the schools themselves separate and unequal, the transportation to school was non-existent for Black children who called Virginia home.  This meant that Black children had to walk miles to school on a daily basis while white children rode by them in state-provided school buses.

Undaunted, my grandparents organized other Black parents in the area, who then pooled their money to buy their own bus.  They then took turns driving that bus to ensure that their children got to school safely each day.  What a creative and courageous act. An act that took commitment, the willingness to sacrifice, and a tremendous love for their children and the possibilities that lay ahead for them in a future filled with opportunities yet unseen.  That act, many decades later, still fills my heart with pride.  Yet, it is just one of the many stories that is part of the fabric woven together to create the beautiful tapestry that is Black History.

You will find in the posts relayed below memories passed from generation to generation from the voices of moms, dads, kids and grandparents. This is a rich space for reminiscing, telling our families' stories, and for sharing our thoughts on Black history and our current political climate. We welcome you to share your thoughts, reflections and stories as well, and to pass these stories on to generations yet to come.

This blog carnival is also published at the Huffington Post.

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My Grandmother is the Original Badass., by Sunny James

Being an African American Woman in America, by Chantal Reynolds

The Legacy, by Carrie Smith

My One and Only, by Rebecca Walker

Martin and Abe, by Dawn Comer Jefferson

African American Mothers and Breastfeeding, by Sahira Long, MD, FAAP, IBCLC

Confessions of a Black Mr. Mom, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Black History Month and Love, by Enola Aird

Remembering (Black) History Through my Mother and Grandmother, by Cheryl Contee

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