By Frank Garrett Jr.
Once upon a time I spent the month of February crisscrossing Texas and Travis County participating in Black History programs. The colleges and schools I frequented loaded me down with certificates of appreciation, free lunch, and in some instances an honorarium.
I loved the opportunity to enlighten people about our contribution to America and the world, but chaffed at having to do it during the shortest month of the year. It never escaped my mind that if History books were honest, and school systems were properly operated, the history I shared would be common knowledge.
American History has often been described as His Story (the white man) with one es removed. You can’t argue with that definition when you consider how colorless public school textbooks continue to be.
I remember the countless struggles to have Black History taught in classrooms during the 80’s and 90’s. I remember all the rejections we endured due to school boards dominated by those who liked His Story because it was theirs. I also remember the samples produced by textbook manufacturers that were jokes because the history they told was not our story at all.
I haven’t participated in Black History month in several years now. I got tired of being ask why the information I presented was not in text books. I got tired of saying ask your Daddy.
I got tired of seeing Black kids with puzzled looks on their faces wondering why white kids had Davy Crockett and others at the Alamo, but they had no one to hold high from the Amistad.
This ridiculous discrimination against information of an American people’s contribution to the nation continues today because of racism, and an incompetent state board of education.
I will be meeting with some parents this week to talk about education. One of the things I will be advocating for is more home schooling by Black parents, especially in the basics.
I will also include Black achievements in any home curriculum interested parents might incorporate. The group of like-minded educators assisting me in this effort are willing to tutor both parents and students in home school efforts.
We must not wait for school boards or public schools to do the right thing when it comes to educating our children; we may already be too late.
My continuing participation in the struggle is limited to education because that is where our future and fortunes are as a people. It is also something I can do sitting down.
My mind is more fertile and active now than it was twenty years ago. It is true that with age and experience comes wisdom, and with that comes a servant’s heart.
I love my people and refuse to sit idly by while we fill up prisons and welfare rolls. We must not allow our talented tenth forget about the rest of our people. We are capable of doing great things in spite of our color, and it is time for the rest of the world to know this.