African Americans

by Skye from Newark

Unfortunately I can't say that there is one particular person I look up to. Many people believe that there is a single being that can inspire them to do better or to achieve their goals. I don't feel the same. This article is not about the one person who influences my decisions that affect the rest of my life. It is about the numerous people involved in how my world has been shaped and formed today.

I am of African-American descent and my people came over to this country as captives. They had become those without the protection of rules and the victims of force. They had been forcibly taken from their homes. They were enslaved, beaten, and became the ones with a general name, "the blacks". They had no identity, they did not belong to society, they were property and those who owned them believed that what you did with your property was their own business. They were called foul names, they were the color of dirt therefore they were dirt, they were treated in ways that the privileged human mind cannot even conjure up. They were victims of a kind of evil that I myself cannot even begin to attempt to explain to you. These psychotic words that were told to them were hammered into their brains with such an intensity that some believed it was true. Unfortunately those who died without ever seeing life as what it could have been and is real for me, died believing that their people could never overcome and although at this time it was absolutely true, there were people who defied the status quo. They had hardships that I don't have to worry about dealing with because of those selected few who changed, shaped, and molded, society and history into what I know as life today. These distinguished few are the ones that I call hero. They enabled me to become equal with my fellow citizens, to have an education, to become whatever I aspire to be without the burden of my skin color.

In the picture above are people who were determined to make a significant difference in the thinking of society. These are the distinguished few who wanted their descendants to have a better life than the one that they were forced to endure. They knew exactly what they deserved and were determined to achieve what was currently unattainable. They are people who wanted education, political equality, to be socially equal, they paved the way for successful black people in the world. Among these important pioneers are the following outstanding people: Martin Luther King JR.: activist & civil rights leader; Booker T. Washington: educator & author; W.E.B. Dubois: academic & activist; Madame CJ Walker: hair care entrepreneur & philanthropist; Barbara Jordan: female politician; Malcolm X: human rights activist; Frederick Douglass: writer & social reformer; Rosa Parks: civil rights activist. Of course there are many more individuals have influenced history and have left their mark in life, but this is just to name a few.

African American history plays an important role in American history, not only because the Civil Rights Movement and slavery but because of the strength and courage of Afro-Americans struggling to live a good life in America. They wanted the American dream as do most people. They were humans who were fighting for what they believed was right. As the United States Pledge of Allegiance states “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, One nation under God, …with liberty and justice for all.” Many people did not believe in this equality, whether they wanted to admit to that shame or not, but of course there were those who sincerely wanted to believe in this claim but were unable to, or those who made this claim become reality for all Americans.

Afro-Americans have been present in this country since the early 1600’s, and have been making history since. We as Americans have studied American history all throughout school, and take one month out of the year to study African American history. Of course we learn some things about the important people and events in African American history, but some of the most important things remain untold. Today's people remain uneducated on the important people in this wonderful country whose personal history contributes to the history of this nation as a whole. By me telling you about those whom I call "hero" I educate you and aid in the struggle to come out of ignorance about my people.

Page created on 10/7/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 10/7/2010 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

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