I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams

This post is part of AACTE’s  Black History Month 2022 Blog series.

Every February, during Black History Month, we celebrate the countless contributions and achievements of notable Black inventors, educators, lawyers, and politicians from over the years. However, as I reflect, I remember to pay homage to the heroes and sheroes in my life who sacrificed to create a better tomorrow, from the Black teachers who inspired me during my PK-12 journey to the Black professors at my HBCU (Jackson State) who saw my potential and pushed me beyond my comfort zone. Because of them, I knew that getting to this point was possible.

As a young boy growing up in Mississippi, I was raised primarily by my grandmother, “Chick,” who had no more than a middle school education. Years before her death, I watched her create something out of nothing. While educating my family and me, I never witnessed her complain or ask for anything in return. From her, I learned that book smarts are great, but lived experiences are also part of life’s teaching and learning process. I’m sure this story is not unique, as Black families across the country share similar experiences.

As a first-generation college student, now pursuing an advanced degree, I know that I am inspiring generations of young Black children who may be wondering if they are good enough or smart enough to dream beyond their current circumstances. So, this month I build on the legacy of those before me; I remember that I did not get here alone and certainly not by chance.  The prayers of my Black mother, her Black mother, and her Black mother before her have guided my steps, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Join AACTE in celebrating Black History Month by sharing your favorite resources for teaching Black history at the Ed Prep or PK-12 level. AACTE will compile this shared knowledge as a toolkit for teaching Black history every month of the year. Please take a moment to share your resources.

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