On My Soapbox: Black History from a child

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Jason Hennington. This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

For this column, I had probably the most interesting interview I've ever conducted as a journalist. I interviewed my children Jasmine, 9, and Tiana, 5, about Black History Month. The answers I received were incredible and shows just how attentive these girls are.

"Black History is a month where you celebrate black people who changed the world," Jasmine told me.

When I asked her who she could tell me about, the first three names she said were Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Martin Luther King – all in that order.

"[Ruby Bridges] was the first African American girl to go to an all-white school," Jasmine told me. "I learned about it in first, second and third grade, and my teacher posted an assignment in fourth grade and I read about her."

She continued to tell me about the 44th president, who was elected before she was born, Barack Obama. She knew his birthday, that he was the first African American president and his vice president.

She even quoted Maya Angelou.

"I know that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

It was great hearing her talk about these different people, but what surprised me was when I asked about people she didn't know, like Carter G. Woodson, Malcolm X and W.E.B. Du Bois. She wanted to know and learn more because these people are considered black history.

"It is important for us to learn black history, especially for me considering that I am black," Jasmine said. "It's important so that you remember the people who changed the world and learn from their success and mistakes."

I asked her if there are still people creating black history, and she named me and her mother because of the jobs we do.

"He works in the newspaper and tells all kinds of crazy stories. He works at the newspaper tells the world what's happening," she said. "My mom because she is a nurse and works to help people, especially in a pandemic."

The conversation changed a bit when I interviewed Tiana, because she didn't know much about Black History Month, except that you celebrate people. She recognized the name Martin Luther King, but only knew he said “I have a dream” and was shot.

Then she told me about her friends Eva, Taylor and Peyton. Each of them had a "beautiful" trait that made them her friend. They all treat her nice and play with her.

What was interesting, Tiana never mentioned a skin tone or gender, just that they are her friends.

If all children carry this mindset into adulthood, maybe hate could become history.

I'm going to get off my soapbox now. Valentine's Day is Sunday, but it's just another day to me. I will go broke buying things for my wife and the girls though.

"I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way."

- George Benson

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