During Black History Month, learn about more than just history, learn about YOUR history.
This post brought to you by MassMutual. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Outside the Box Mom.
How to Make Black History Month Personal to You
I am excited to join MassMutual in celebrating Black History Month by sharing my very own #JourneyOfYou story of how my family’s history led me to become the person I am today and empowered me to create a legacy for tomorrow.
MassMutual is embracing the celebration of Black History Month by honoring African American history and resolve.
Through the month-long campaign #JourneyOfYou, MassMutual encourages you to recognize and reflect on your own family history, and what makes you who you are in an effort to honor your past while creating a legacy for your future.
What’s my heritage?
I recall my mom’s stories of how she accelerated her high school timeline in order to graduate early, before schools would integrate, for fear of what that experience would be like.
Fast forward 23 years to my high school graduation at the top of my class from an integrated high school, with joint graduation from a governor’s school dedicated to the interconnections between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Where do you start your Journey of You?
- Talk to older relatives like grandparents, older aunts or uncles, and family friends.
- Visit your local library to take advantage of their ancestry.com subscription
- Review census records, old newspaper articles, and family photographs.
- Organize your information into a notebook starting with you, then your parents, then your grandparents, and so on.
What I learned:
- I traced my paternal grandmother’s family back four generations to Franklin County, Virginia.
- Although I am African-American, my grandmother’s grandmother was “mulatto.”
- I knew that my grandmother came from a large family, with 9 siblings. I was able to see her parent’s names on the census with a notation of the number of children they had.
- I learned from the census records that their family OWNED the land they lived on, were farmers, and owned a radio. At the time, these were great indicators of a family’s economic status.
- I saw how someone’s name could have been misspelled and possibly changed his history. (Saw the misspellings on the census report.)
- I learned that it was common for husbands to bring their wives home to live in the family home, after their marriage.
Last year, I visited that old homeplace and was instantly flooded with a few early, early childhood memories with my granny and great-grandfather.
I’m glad that Mass Mutual is taking an unconventional route in encouraging individuals to explore the JourneyofYou instead of learning about others’ history of history in general.
I think that when it’s more personal, it’s more meaningful and more fun to explore.
If You Like This Post, You’ll Love:
- 20 Best Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes
- 20 Movies About Black History to Stream on Netflix
- 10 More Black History Movies on Netflix
- How to Make Black History Month Personal to You
- How to Celebrate Your Heritage
Join me and MassMutual in celebrating Black History Month this February. Follow along and share your own story in the comments section below or on Facebook/Twitter with MassMutual using #JourneyOfYou.