By Ronda Watson Barber
Black History has concluded. OhioMBE published a Black History every day during the month of February on our website and other media outlets. I learned so much. I posted information about Black people I hadn’t heard about. I posted information about Black people who made a difference. I posted about Black people who made a difference, a contribution, while in most cases still being oppressed and denied their rights as Americans.
In reflection, we stand on strong bold shoulders. We are living our ancestors wildest dreams. As a newspaper publisher, I know my people are smiling. I am educated. I can read and write. I can voice my opinions and thoughts, without penalty. Some of us are living our best lives. Some of us are acting damn fools. What would our forefathers and mothers think? What would our folks who were enslaved, raped, separated from their families and traumatized on a daily basis think about some of our current behaviors? Folks who weren’t allowed to read or write, I am certain would be sadly stunned that as a community we aren’t active and monitoring our children’s academic successes. Columbus City Schools has received failing marks on the state report card and I don’t see the urgency to save our children.
Black businesses are not getting their fair share of government contracts. Everyone seems to be in an “I’m taking care of me” mode. Are Black businesses buying from one another? Are Black businesses joint venturing to capitalize on contracting opportunities? Are Black business lobbying and advocating for an environment conducive for them to succeed. Madame C.J. Walker was successful because she had the support of Black customers. Alonozo Herndon wouldn’t have become the richest Black man in Atlanta and the founder of the Atlanta Life Financial Group if he didn’t have quality products and services and didn’t give back to the community.
Don’t get me started on voting and participating in the political process. What would the Freedom Riders, Shirley Chisholm or Fannie Lou Hamer think about those who are not registered to vote? The State of Ohio makes it fairly easy to cast a ballot. There are no excuses.
Black excellence is in our DNA. Against overwhelming obstacles, Black people have made positive worldwide contributions. We owe it to our legacy to help others up. We honor our legacy when we achieve. We honor our legacy when we practice cooperative economics. How are you honoring our legacy? What Black History are you and your company making?
Just my thoughts…rwb