In addition to brushing up on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. facts and checking in to see what the Rev. Al Sharpton is up to, celebrate Black History Month by sampling some food! Food is such a huge part of any group’s culture and it’s one that everyone can enjoy! So far this month I’ve been to an Ethiopian restaurant, two Soul Food restaurants and even a Jamaican spot. Now before you say that not all of those are “African-American” cuisine, I’d like to point out that the chefs who are running these establishments brought their culinary gifts to this country just like every other immigrant so I believe it counts! Plus it was all really, really yummy!
Fun fact, did you know that we have George Washington Carver, an African-American agricultural chemist to thank for peanut butter? Just one of his many accomplishments! Born in 1864 in Missouri, Carver was a determined man who was passionate about plants. He earned his Master of Science degree in bacterial botany and agriculture in 1897 where he broke down racial barriers and became the first African-American to attend and to teach at several universities in the South. At the invitation of Booker T. Washington, Carver ultimately became a professor at Tuskegee University where he developed his crop rotation method. Carver educated farmers to alternate the soil-depleting cotton crops with soil-enriching crops such as; peanuts, peas, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and pecans and essentially revitalized the then struggling Southern agriculture industry.
Black History Month is great, but sometimes refreshing ourselves on the history can be a bit of a downer. While it’s important to remind ourselves about our complete past (good and bad), there’s a lot more to Black History in America than slavery, race riots, and civil rights. There are plenty of African-American accomplishments, like those of Mr. Carver, that have nothing to do with overcoming conflict. There are amazing Black filmmakers, artists, athletes, scholars, and of course chefs; all of whom have reached their achievements just by being themselves and loving what they do. Which is the ultimate point, I think of months like these, to get over past struggles and recognize that regardless of race or gender (Women’s History Month is up next!) when you work hard and have a passion for what you do anything is possible!
P.S. If you haven’t yet go see Red Tails!! It’s an amazing film and if there’s a soul food spot you can hit up before-hand, even better!
- Black History Month, Again? (theroot.com)
- Black History Month: Five major events and figures – Christian Science Monitor (csmonitor.com)
- BYU student video shows Black History Month ignorance (thegrio.com)
- In Search of a Reason to Segregate American History – New York Times (tv.nytimes.com)
- Museums highlight Black History Month (thegrio.com)