History + Culture = Heritage

by B. Mchie
Time and time again especially in the African American community we here elders in particular say the following. If you don’t know where you came from you’ll have difficulty knowing where you are going. Our forefathers in African America have placed a number of historic benchmarks to help present and future black citizens know where they came from.

Add DNA testing and we can go even further adding a monetary cost. The value of learning this information as early and as thoroughly as possible in African America is the personal freedom one gets from the truths of this information. It has nothing to do with famous findings from the past; rather it’s the journey itself. This could include names, dates, episodes, locations etc.

Next we have culture, our learned behavior since the first slave ship landed in Florida. This includes religion, dance, philosophy, music, medicine and more. Like the mortar between the bricks of our house, culture binds the hard fact of history with truths of expression to reveal who we are. For five centuries we have preserved deprived nuances, customs and traditions from the continent many which were outlawed by America’s government or suppressed by our owners. Owning this content especially recorded somehow is our strongest path to freedom.

History + Culture = Heritage. I’d like to introduce this equation as one that could enhance the cycle of this freedom and birthright in African America. It contains two pieces of information that combined total a revealing source of personal pride. If anyone applies their family History to their Culture, they can discover their own Heritage.

History: a systematic narrative or account of past episodes as relating to a particular people, country, period, location or individual.

Culture: the quality in a person or society related to excellence in arts, manners, and scholarly pursuits; the development or improvement of character and mind by education or training.

Heritage: something that belongs to or is reserved for someone by reason of birth or succession.

Part of the reason for this blog subject is the increasing numbers of people I encounter who use the phrase I identify as when speaking of their race, nationality, gender etc. I believe that regarding race and nationality this equation will help inform that phrase or replace it with something like I am.

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