History is more than just anecdotes and stories, but a chance to celebrate and recognize the advancement of people, as well as a chance to learn and grow.
Jacqueline Carter created and founded the First United Methodist Church of Boulder’s first Black History Month kickoff event Sunday at the Boulder Public Library.
During the event, Carter said that Black history is simply history. While February is the month that dedicates itself to remembering Black history and stories, every month should recognize the history of Black people.
Carter also asked attendees to explain what Black history month meant to them. One attendee said that to them it was a time to remember the history of those that some textbooks leave out, and another said that the month is a reminder to be aware of how history is told and if the person telling it has an agenda.
Carter said that to her, Black history month is a chance to celebrate the success of Black people in America. She also said that more importantly than celebrating the success, is recognizing the struggle for equal rights. She said that she comes from a family of human rights activists, and she was raised to fight for equality.
“We’re fighters, and inequity and injustice is not acceptable,” Carter said.
She said that the struggle of equality for Black people in America is an everyday struggle, and that everybody needs to do their part to get rid of the gap in inequality. Carter recognizes her privilege in being raised in a family that taught her to fight for equal rights.
Carter said that colorism, the discrimination of people based on their skin tone usually from within the same racial group, has been exploited around the world to continue acts of racism and prejudice against Black people.
She said that the purpose of the Black History Month kickoff event she organized was to share and learn. She wanted the event to be a chance for people to learn more about Black history and culture. Carter said that knowledge is power.
“Black history is more than just stories,” Carter said.
Carter expressed that it can be tiring that Black history gets reduced down to a few stories or anecdotes about prominent, successful Black Americans, rather than the full history of Black people in America. She said that Black history often gets reduced down to just Martin Luther King Jr., or contributions Black people have made to American sports and music.
“There’s so many people who contributed to this country that didn’t dance or sing,” Carter said.The kickoff also had a live jazz quartet band, which played a variety of pieces by Black composers. Carter said that many influences to jazz music came from Black cultures.
Kara Priest, an attendee, said that she was first interested in the kickoff event because of the live jazz band, but that the event also gave her a broader understanding of Black history.
Amy Carlson, a theater manager for the Boulder Public Library, said that the event was a great start to Black History Month. She said that the event was informational and that she learned a lot about Black history.
Carter said that Sunday’s event was, of course, just the kickoff, and that there will be another Black History Month event Feb. 4 that will include a panel of speakers, a dinner and a live jazz band.