By Nolan Green

Our lives are shaped by our jobs, families, friends and the amount of time that we dedicate to each. However, in February and all throughout the year, Americans should take time to acknowledge the achievements of the African-Americans who came before us. Black History Month is a time to educate, honor and celebrate.

EDUCATE

We should strive to educate ourselves, our children and anyone else who will listen on the different customs, people and beliefs in the African-American culture. Such enlightenment fuels progression, and this progression leads to innovation. Of course, we all should reflect on the lives of well-known African-Americans like Rosa Parks and Malcom X, who took their time to shape America into the great nation that it is today. However, we should educate ourselves about lesser known African-American visionaries such as Phoebe Jeter (only woman and first Air Defense Artillery Officer, male or female, to lead a platoon that destroyed SCUD missiles fired at US forces in Desert Storm) and Elijah McCoy (invented the automatic lubricator for oiling steam engines in locomotives).

HONOR

African-Americans who found the courage, time and wisdom to improve the lives of others should be honored. Without these strong Americans such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Harriett Tubman, and President Barack Obama, we would not enjoy the lifestyles that we live each day. Regardless of race, our African-American ancestors are a part of our American history and have affected our past and our future. In February, we should take the time to remind ourselves to honor them all year long and ensure that we are living up to their example.

CELEBRATE

Black History Month is also a time to celebrate the accomplishments made by this country which is nothing short of amazing. Even with how far we’ve come as a nation, we still have work to do. However, one must take the time to enjoy the progress made by African-Americans and African-American supporters, often in times of great adversity, that changed our history. Celebrating these accomplishments motivates all Americans to strive for greatness.

Black History Month is a time to educate ourselves, a time to honor our ancestors and a time to celebrate our progress. As we move forward in 2018, let’s remember the African-Americans that devoted their time to improve the lives of their fellow Americans and helped change the fabric of this great nation.