Black History 365
Decolonizing Black resistance
In 1926, Carter G. Woodson designated the second week of February as Negro History Week. Fifty years later, America finally took the hint and upgraded Negro History Week to Black History Month.
Yes, it’s the shortest month of the year, and yes, the basis for its existence is under attack—but I digress.
Now we spend 28 days celebrating the innovation, contributions, and accomplishments of Black Americans.
In this land where our ancestors bled, we have to fight for everything we get, and Black History Month is no exception. Yet somehow, this monthlong celebration has been truncated and redacted to a three-day weekend.
On Friday, Lincoln freed the slaves. On Saturday, Martin marched on Washington. On Sunday, we elected Obama.
Technically, on Monday we celebrated Juneteenth, but since that’s a holiday no one asked for designed to replace lost revenues from Columbus Day and Thanksgiving, I’m not counting it.
But I digress.
As a womxn who considers herself fairly knowledgeable about all things Blackity Black, imagine my surprise when I learned of another month of celebrating Blackness that I had never heard of.
Black August is a month-long commemoration of the history of Black American resistance and political activism. Even though the month also focuses on Black History, it’s different from Black History Month because it recognizes folx Carter G. would have called disreputable negroes.
The incarcerated. The ‘gang bangers’. The insurrectionists.
Black August became ‘a thing’ in the late 1970s after the assassination of George Jackson and his brother Jonathan at San Quentin Prison State Prison in Marin County, California.
While incarcerated, George Jackson, George “Big Jake” Lewis, and W. L. Nolen founded the Black Guerrilla Family(BGF) AKA Jamaa to protect and maintain the dignity of imprisoned Black Americans, promote Black Power, and allegedly overthrow the United States Government.
I say allegedly because this is the organization’s pledge:
If I should ever break my stride, and…