The Legacy of Black Activists

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Members of the Black Panthers at a Free Huey (Newton) rally in DeFremery Park in Oakland. (Photo by Stephen Shames/Polaris courtesy of UC Berkley News)

Each year we are given 28, sometimes 29, days to celebrate the lives and legacies of our ancestors; the innovators that paved the way for us to be here today. A lot of the inventions that we still use today are credited towards the great minds of black people. We all know the basic information about our ancestors, such as George Washington Carver invented peanut butter, but what else do we really know? It’s time to look deeper into the legacy of our people!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated world wide for his work for Civil Rights for black people, and he even has his own holiday. His legacy is taught in schools, and many kids grow up familiar with his legacy, but many do not know the legacy of Malcolm X who an activist who worked for change along with Dr. King. Malcolm X is not celebrated as much as Dr. King because his ways of getting change were seen as “radical” and “violent” to many people, especially white people. Dr. King’s way of achieving change was more peaceful, as he stood behind nonviolence to achieve his goals. Malcolm X believed that we should use the same force against us to achieve our goals, because black nationalism is very powerful and can shift an entire nation.

The concepts of Malcolm X have been passed on for decades, and are seen through public figures such as Tupac Shakur, Jesse Williams, and Colin Kaepernick. Tupac showed his love for his people through his songs, and through his philanthropic actions. In many of the interviews he gave, he talked about how black people need to step up and take back control of their resources and money. Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, was a member of the Black Panthers, so a great deal of his ideology is similar in nature to theirs. He used his platform to speak out on issues in the black community before he was murdered, and his influence is still relevant today.

There are so many more influential people in the black community that should be celebrated. Take the time out this month to learn more about the legacy our people have and how rich in culture and influence it truly is. Happy Black History Month!

Header Image: AceSpencer/Pixabay