Here Comes Black History Month

One thing I missed K-12 school for is Black History Month. At least when I was a kid. Black History Month so such a big deal back then. Opposed to be a old guy now and going the first eight hours of February 1st and not hearing a single reference to it. Well, I’m going to try and think of it myself and make it a big deal.

James Baldwin was a traumatic figure in my high school years. Being that was the age my school system probably felt comfortable allowing us to read his material. And with Giovanni’s Room being the first book I read of his, I could see their point. Even in the 1980s, society was so overtly homophobic. So reading a story about a man falling in love with another man hard to deal with. I’d never read anything like that before. I struggled reading that book like with nothing I ever read in the past. For context, I was so afraid of homosexuality, I refused to go down the Greenwich Village in the 1980s and early 1990s for fear of, I don't know, some gay rubbing off on me or something. Again, was a different time and different me.

After a quick break from reading the book, I told myself I had to finish reading it. I mean, I really had to for the grade. But I'm glad I did. After getting over my blind bias, I realized that taking the genders out, it was just a story of love and discovery. Someone learning to be true to themselves through adversity. Coming to terms with that helped me reading another of Mr. Baldwin's works (the play Blues for Mr. Charlie) that became one of my favorite stories. And now as an adult, I'm addicted listening to Mr. Baldwin's talks on race and class. I'm even starting to read his essays on the same subjects.

James Baldwin was such a trailblazer. A voice against oppression on so many levels.