Here’s a name you should know: Mikki Kendall.
Mikki Kendall is an incredible writer, feminist, and tweeter. Kendall’s writing can be found at a variety of places — XO Jane, Salon, the Guardian, and Hood Feminism — make it a priority to go read her words. She is wonderful.
At the end of January, Kendall sounded a call to action on social media, asking for participation in Black History Month using a particular hashtag: #HistoricPOC. The hashtag’s goal was to inspire users to post pictures of people of color in their day-to-day lives throughout history, all in an attempt to give the real story and not the white-washed version. Here’s what she said on Twitter:
Why is this important? Not only are people sharing pictures of very famous and well-known Black figures, but people are showing pictures of their own families, and of lesser-known yet incredibly important Black figures throughout history. It is wonderful and crucial that we celebrate people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks, and President Barack Obama, but what about the lesser discussed Black men and women who challenged adversity? What about the artists, and politicians, and authors, and scientists that we never get to hear about? What about our own family members and ancestors, without whom we would certainly not exist?
The #HistoricPOC hashtag has already brought us so much more information than we were ever taught in school — and February has only just begun. Here are just a few of the people we’re learning about thanks to #HistoricPOC, and the incredible images being used to tell their stories.
From Tumblr user JazminsThoughts: “My great great aunt and uncle in the ’50s. #historicpoc”
From Tumblr user ChristianBowe: Henry Lincoln Johnson, a soldier who enlisted in 1917 and was eventually awarded a Purple Heart. He was the first ever American soldier to receive the French Croix de Guerre.
From Tumblr user karnythia: A New York City wedding in the 1940s.
From the University of Iowa: A glimpse into the university’s first ever Black Experience Week.
I encourage everyone to share any pictures you have of your family or friends using the hashtag, and at the very least spend some time exploring. Take this Black History Month to teach yourself what school never taught us. There are so many incredible stories of individuals you’ve likely never heard of, let’s take this month to share at least some of their legacies.
[Featured image via]