I Remember Blackness: Finding The Heroes Who Look Like You

Support BECAUSE OF THEM WE CAN by Eunique Jones.

In Ms. Green’s Fourth grade class, I began to be proud to be Black.

Let me tell you this: there is a difference between knowing you are Black, and being proud to be Black. In her classroom, there were always books about being Black, Black history (beyond February!), and she was the first teacher I had ever had that told me Jesus was Black. It was in her class that I came across this woman’s picture:

The Patron Saint of this space: Ida B. Wells Barnett (1863-1931)

I remember looking at her picture every day and a kinship formed. A fire started. The roots of this space was from a 4th grade classroom in a St. Louis Public School in North St. Louis, Missouri.

I looked at her–studied her face–and declared her my grandmother. By the time I was born in 1981, she had been dead 50 years. At her posthumous Pulitzer Prize, she had been dead 90 years.

I wanted to know everything about this woman! I needed to know everything about this woman. I NEEDED to know. At age 9, the only Black writer I knew was her. Ergo, since I only knew her–I wanted to be just LIKE her. Even 90 years after her passing, I still want to be like her. It meant the world to me to someone that I could emulate.

This is the power of representation!

This is the power of telling Black history!

This is the power of showing Black children ALL of history!

In showing a Black children whom they are, by showing them whom they can become and be like! For that, I am eternally grateful to Mrs. Annie Green.

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