BLACK IS RESILIENT: U.S. Marshals escorted Ruby Bridges to and from school to protect her from racist protests that erupted after she integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960. | Public Domain

I have so many hopes and dreams for you! My dreams for you, my beautiful Black girls, are that you are free to be whoever you want to be.

If you only get one lesson from me and your dad, let it be this: Your history didn’t start with slavery and white people’s history didn’t start in the United States of America.   

Our Black culture begins with the beginning of humans. In fact, the first humans were found in Africa. The first civilizations were in Africa. Africa is our homeland and everything about Africa should bring you pride!

Our history, according to the DNA tests I have taken, starts in modern day Sudan, around 6000 B.C. Nubia (Sudan) has more pyramids than Kemet (Egypt) and the pyramids in Nubia are 2,000 years older! 

But there is so much than pyramids! African civilizations are complex. They started the use of iron and tools. Africa had kings and queens, universities, warriors, slaves, artists, scientists, mathematicians, farmers, sailors, inventors and musicians. You come from a beautifully talented, complex Black culture. 

As your mother, I have told you repeatedly that you are already free to be whoever you want to be. But as you approach adolescence and spend more time in schools than you do with your parents, you may begin to doubt that I told you the truth.  

See, the books that you will read and the lessons you will learn will not validate your potential exactly as you are — beautiful, brilliant Black girls, from a legacy of beautiful, brilliant Black women.

You must learn their history, but you must
 take a broader perspective.

In formal school education, you will be exposed to a different viewpoint. Most school curricula in the United States are completely uninterested in young, brilliant Black girls like you learning about your culture, discovering multiple viewpoints or forming your own opinions.

In school, you will likely be inundated with stories of Europe: Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the medieval period, the Dark Ages, the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire. Then you will be told all about the greatness of the United States of America that comes from the rich history of Europe. You will be forced to memorize, learn, and admire the brilliance and beauty of Europe and white people. 

This is something I cannot protect you from. You must learn their history. But remember, more than facts are at stake. In those classrooms, you are seeing only their viewpoint. You must take a broader perspective. 


Our Blackness is beautiful, brilliant and resilient

The United States of America was founded in 1776. On July 4, the Untied States will be 244 years old. Europeans landed in the Americas in 1492 and have been interacting with indigenous land of the first Americans for almost 550 years.

Understand my beautiful, brilliant Black daughters, your history is over 10,000 years old! The enslavement of Black people by white people is at best only 550 years of your history. That is a mere 5.5 percent of your totality. 

Sure, the enslavement of Black people by white people, and our subsequent struggles to become totally free are important to know and learn. But America is a very, very small part of the totality of us as Black people.   

What makes Black children different from many white children, is you know that the history you learn in school is not completely factual; it is based on a viewpoint. We, as Black Americans, have completely different interpretations of history: the who is important.

You are part of a beautiful, brilliant, Black people that has a history and presence throughout the world. Five-hundred years! You are in but a minute of your 10,000-year story.  Our Black is brilliant, beautiful and most important, resilient.  

ShaRhonda Dawson