Black History Month is Necessary

| By Glenis Redmond |

I celebrate Black History three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. When people question the need for this month, it is obvious they have not witnessed the struggle of living within the margins.

Glennis Redmond

Glennis Redmond

I had a horrifying moment in a high school English class, when I was talking about Harriet Tubman, a black girl pipes up, “you mean that ugly woman?” Imagine my outrage. I took a deep breath. I responded with “you mean that woman that gave her life so that our ancestors could be free? You mean the woman that looks like that she could have been my grandma and your grandma? You mean that beautiful woman?”

Glenis Redmond’s 1.0 Common Core Soul Standard: Meet students where they are and raise self-defeating comments or behaviors. Do not go off on them so much as they can tell. Take a deep breath. Reframe their negative views of our ancestors. Do not take a student’s negative comments personally, because most likely they believe that about themselves.

I believe in poetry. Harriet Tubman is beautiful and powerful. I am beautiful and powerful and the girl that made that ignorant comment is beautiful and will be powerful when she expands her mind. She ended up writing a powerful poem in my class appropriately titled “Dark Feelings.”

I believe in Black History Month. As I said, I study our history everyday, because it is vital part of American History. We have much work to do. Right the Wrong. Write it.

Glenis Redmond lives in Greenville, SC and Charlotte, NC. She is a Warrior Road Poet with two posts as the Poet-in-Residence at The Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville, SC. To confuse her locality even more she is also the Poet-in-Residence at State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ.

She served as the Mentor Poet for the National Student Poets Program. In 2014 and 2015 she prepared student poets to read at the Library of Congress, the Department of Education and for the First Lady, Michelle Obama at The White House.

Glenis is a Cave Canem Fellow and a North Carolina Literary Fellowship Recipient and a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist. She helped create the first Writer-in-Residence at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC. Glenis is also a full-time road poet, performing and teaching poetry across the country. She believes that poetry is a healer. She can be found across America in the trenches applying pressure to those in need, one poem at a time.

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