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?

Dawn McKenzie

I learned about the accomplishments and struggles through a plethora of activities and people – my dad, reading, black history programs and ultimately a life-scarring painful experience. I’ve had to recalibrate my knowledge to expand it to to many other notable blacks beyond Martin Luther King, Malcolm X etc… Many Rivers illuminated that through extending my learning of sacrifices made beyond marches. I am constantly changing, especially with my new found pain of racism, something I’d not experienced in depth until the 21st century. It is deeper than I could have ever imagined. I believe it is paramount to pass this to our future generations in every manner possible through books, DVDs as tangible gifts and through Social Media, by texting back history facts, URLs, books etc.. It is paramount that we do this as we are losing to many to the hatred of each other, fear like the two sell-outs in the Gabriel Revolt outside Richmond, VA. If we don’t, a very depraved history is bound to repeat itself as it appears to be very imminent.