Black history is Black identity

“Who are you? You don’t know?
“And where were you?
“And what did you have? What was yours?
“What language did you speak then?
“What was your name?
“Who taught you to hate the color of your skin?
“Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair?
“Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips?
“Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet?
“Who taught you to hate your own kind?
“Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each

— Malcolm X

Black history teaches us the true answers to these fundamental questions, the questions that inform our Black identity.

Black history gives us a sense of our Black selves that the ideology of supremacy can never give us.

Knowing our history is resistance and power in the village.

Black history restores what slavery took from us — the right to answer these questions by ourselves, for ourselves.

Without our history, we lose the chance to learn again what language we spoke — the language that advised us that the African was strong and worthy. The language that reminds the world that the Million Man March inspired a revolution for change in Tunisia, and now in Egypt.

Lissa Jones welcomes reader responses to