Honoring Connections

This is Black History Month and I would like to honor my ancestors.

Dr. Maya Angelou says, “I long for a time when all of human history is taught as one history.”

To honor my ancestors, I have to look at history that way. I got my DNA analyzed five years ago and discovered some fascinating information. If I lined up 100 of my most likely ancestors, based on DNA, about 60 of them would be from Africa, 20 would be from parts of Europe and 20 would be Native Americans. American history is written into my genes. I am America.

By studying history, we discover the many ways our ancestors dealt with ethnic diversity. The 2010 Census is giving us a deeper look into how our nation continues to change. Talking about history, and our changing demographics, can be a challenge for any group of people. We all have complex, political, social and personal experiences tied to them.

It was great finding DNA information about my family. Records destroyed during the Civil War makes research difficult, but that doesn’t change the fact that my identity is tied to world history. I am inspired to learn more. To honor my ancestors, however, I don’t need to have specific names or more documentation. I realize that I am their documentation. In this Black History Month, I’d like to honor all of my ancestors; the black ones, the white ones, and the red, creme, cinnamon, cayenne and mixed ones who loved each other enough for me to be here. Their journeys, regardless of the color of their skin, deserve my honor and respect.

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