By now, we are all we aware that February is designated as Black History Month. However, we need to remember that “history” is being made every day, every month and every year by people of color. In a 2005 interview with the CBS Television News Magazine 60 Minutes, actor and “super voice” Morgan Freeman famously reminded that “Black History is American History.”
During this final week of February 2022, the Central Texas Conference will shine the spotlight on Black Poetry – in particular, a poem by the CTC’s own Rev. Tomeca Richardson. Tomeca is the pastor at McMillian and Morningside United Methodist Church as well as the Vice-Chair of the CTC Inclusiveness Umbrella Team. She loves to write and to teach poetry and creative writing. Her poem is reflective of what Black History means to her.
Resources to read and reflect on some works by other Black Poets are listed below.
by Tomeca Richardson
Their hands laid the bricks
Their hands praised the Lord
Their hands invited us in
Their hands opened the doors
Their hands welcomed us up
Their hands nursed the sick
Their hands changed the world
Their hands fought for justice
Their hands fought for peace
Their hands offered amazing grace
Their hands wrapped the body
Their hands wiped the blood
Their hands were filled with power
Their hands were filled with love
Their hands, your hands, my hands
Our hands bridge the gap
To make the way.
Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow - Hear from Rev. Beverly Connelly, The First African American Female DS in the Central Texas Conference
In the first of two videos focusing on the amazing leaders of color in the Conference, the Central Texas Conference Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness team is pleased to share thoughts and insights from Rev. Beverly Connelly, the South/Central District Superintendent, on the paths traveled in her ministry so far, what it means to be the first Black woman serving on the CTC Cabinet as a DS and what Black History represents to her.
Black History Month - Hear From Darlene Alfred - The First African American Lay Leader of the Central Texas Conference
The CTC continues to shine the spotlight on some of the amazing leaders of color in Conference as we share some thoughts and insights from Darlene Alfred, the Central Texas Conference Lay Leader, on being the first Black Female Conference Lay Leader in the CTC and what that means to her. She also reflects on her perspective of Black History Month.
This historian helped establish the field of African American studies and his organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, aimed to encourage "people of all ethnic and social backgrounds to discuss the Black experience".
“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”
― Carter G. Woodson
His organization was later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAALH) and is currently the oldest historical society established for the promotion of African American history.
Woodson also understood that members of the Black community already celebrated the births of Douglass and Lincoln and sought to build on existing traditions. "He was asking the public to extend their study of Black history, not to create a new tradition", as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAALH) explained on its website.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History month. In his speech, President Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.
Since his administration, every American president has recognized Black History Month and its mission. But it wasn't until Congress passed "National Black History Month" into law in 1986 that many in the country began to observe it formally. The law aimed to make all Americans "aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity".
As Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian Institution said at the opening of the Washington D.C.'s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016: “There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honoring our struggle and ancestors by remembering".
Adapted from the World Economic Forum www.weforumc.org
Pray with me.
Most gracious and loving God,
we remember the struggles of our people,
your people and thank you for your grace,
your love, and your mercy.
Inspire each of us to work more faithfully for justice
and dignity of life everywhere.
Lord God, we remember the hurts of exclusion and prejudice,
but we know that you can raise our voice above all barriers
and give us wisdom and courage to make this a better world.
As you give us yourself in the Bread of Hope and the Cup of Mercy,
show us how to give ourselves to those who are without hope and to those who cry for mercy.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
Coordinator for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
For facts and an in-depth history of Black History Month
For studying Black History Month, consider the following articles: