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By Clifton R Kirkman II
Telegram Reporter 

A Lesson Worth Learning: A Deep Dive into Overlooked Black History Month Facts


February 23, 2023

Dale Rich

Peggy Wallace Kelly, daughter of the late Gov. George Wallace of Georgia standing between the Hon. John Lewis and Hon. Maxine Waters with Jesse Jackson standing behind them in 2009 during the 44th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

For centuries, Blacks continue to be a driving force behind America. Whether it has been patents, products or culture, one could use their minds to imagine that it is not easy being a major contributor to the very fine fabric and makeup of the Americas. Let alone, to a country that has never found true value in you. Neither has it considered you to be worthy of recognition. In case you did not know, we are talking about the United States of America, even though the limitations were not just to North America, alone. It cannot be denied that the lives of Blacks have been filled with hardship yet, resiliency in every era of this country; It's admirable. Did you know that after the Civil War ended in the Spring of 1865, many Blacks around the country continued to face discrimination in various forms.

Blacks were faced with limited housing options, employment and lack of quality education. It didn't stop there but, even after migrating to Northern States, they were faced with hatred by Whites and were met with cruelty, violence and attacks by the Ku Klux Klan. It's interesting how the residual damages of this country's past continues to bleed into modern-day society. Racism at its core hasn't changed, just how it appears throughout various states, cities, towns and counties does discrimination look slightly different. Some people say that part of the issues are because this country continues to allow it. It refuses to take ownership of it's true history towards Blacks. Have you watched the news lately or over the past few years? If you live here in Michigan, there have been news reports on white neighbors taunting and making threats to Black neighbors who move into the suburbs. That is just one scenario. There is a complete list that can be named, it happens often here in Metro Detroit. Have you heard about "driving while black"?

Detroit, is not free and exempt from its dark past either. Have you heard about redlining? According to research done by Michigan State University, on June 1, 1939 the federal government redlined the city of Detroit. It was a way that many of our parents, grandparents and loved-ones were denied access to housing conditions that were suitable enough that Whites would live in. Instead, Blacks in the city of Detroit were forced into neighborhoods that were segregated and the like. That practice is now illegal due to discrimination laws. At the time it specifically targeted Blacks, deeming black neighborhoods as "hazardous". According to, hazardous means involving or exposing one to risk. It implies great and continuous risk of harm or failure. What about the Birwood Wall, a wall that was built in 1941 to separate Black and White residents? Believe it or not it happened right here in the city of Detroit.

February is almost over and that means Black History goes away until next year rolls around again. If you've taken the time to do some of your own research, you'll begin to understand that the true history of Blacks in this country and around the world cannot be downsized to just one month. It takes time to learn about some of the history that dates back to the African people and those that were forced to grow up in foreign lands such as the Caribbean and other parts of the world. Education is a continuous journey. You are never too old to learn something new unless, you make that decision. There is a lot of information out there that schools haven't taught and will never teach in a History Class.

Don't limit your learning of Black History to just one month alone because, there is more to learn.Research is everything!Will you make the commitment to learn Black History beyond just in the month of February?

Dale Rich

A historical marker at the corner of Birwood and Norfolk shows that racial segregation was allowed.

I'll leave you with this quote from the late Marcus Garvey, "A people without the knowledge of their past, origin and culture is like a tree without roots".

Happy Black History Month!


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