African-American history has played an integral role in the shaping of politics, economics, and culture in the United States. Growing up, how did you learn about the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans? Were you in a classroom? Reading a book? Talking with relatives or friends? How has your understanding or knowledge of African-American history changed and/or developed over time? What do you think is the most effective way to pass along this rich and growing history to future generations?

Breona Cunningham

I grew up in a small town in South Carolina. From the pyramids to the United States…my people built it all. I have listened to stories from my mother, my father and my great- grandmother. My mother and father always told me that it was important for me to be proud of who I am. Because of my parents and grandmothers words of wisdom I was the first person in my family to attend college. I am a 22-year-old young woman. I attend an historical black college and I am proud of who I am. The stories that I have read in books, the stories I have heard by ear, and the stories of shows I have watched on television give me hope. Sometimes I wonder how it would have felt to be in my ancestors’ shoes. Whenever I feel like giving up it almost feels as if my ancestors are right by my side pushing me and guiding me. I am the great, great, great, great granddaughter of the woman in the photograph that is shown above; she goes by the name of Juda Brawner. She was born in 1845. I wish I knew more about her and her journey.

“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.” – Maya Angelou