By Alex Lontoc
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and led the march in Washington. Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus. George Washington Carver came up with multiple uses for peanuts.
We know this. We all learned this in school during Black History Month.
So what will be the additions to America’s February tradition in the future? Who from this generation will our kids and grand kids learn about like we learned about Garrett Morgan inventing the stoplight.
The story of African-Americans in this country has grown considerably. We’ve learned about the tragedy of slavery and the freedom fighters they spawned. And the Jim Crow Era, which featured those who persevered and thrived against the will of society.
Now, though racism still exists, African-Americans are welcomed as an integral part of the American fabric. A new generation of pioneers, inventors, leaders and influencers have been and are being born. The struggle has not stopped. Neither has the tradition of Black excellence. Let’s predict who the future staples of Black History Month will be.
Chance the Rapper
Chancellor Bennett is more than just a rapper. He made Grammy history by being the first artist to win a Grammy exclusively from streaming his album. On top of his success as an independent recording artist, Chance is an advocate for his hometown Chicago’s education and the youth.
In March of 2017, he made a million-dollar donation to Chicago Public Schools following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to veto a $215 million budget for CPS. This was a call to action. Education is fundamental in all basics of life. Chance is using his platform to start a movement and give importance toward public education and give the youth a chance to learn.
Bryant was an electrical engineer from Memphis. She founded Black Girls Code, a training course on helping young women of color to learn skills in computer and technology. The Black Girls Code allows young black girls to have access and exposure to STEM courses which could eventually help them in the future. The lack of representation of black women in
The field led Bryant to organize the program. It will open doors for young girls in the tech and computer industry which is a predominantly male field of work. With technology evolving everyday, the launch of this program could give a start to girls who are interested in STEM careers but do not have the right access. It can launch more programs like this that specifically give women more access and opportunities in different career fields.
Barack Obama became an pioneer when he was voted in as the 44th President of the United States, and his eight-year legacy was one for the books.
He led this country through the Great Recession and two wars, captured Osama bin Laden, provided affordable healthcare for many uninsured Americans, gave sanctuary to illegal immigrants and boosted the economy.
By his side was the First Lady, Michelle, was an advocate for healthy nutrition in the school system and healthy lifestyle. Her program, “Let’s Move.” Is a nationwide effort to bring awareness to childhood obesity. She also helped pass a program that provided free and reduced-priced meals in schools to kids that came from a low-income family.
Together, the Obamas have become an a fulfilment of the dreams of pioneers and are certain to be staples in politics and society moving forward. The Obamas’ legacy will live on, they had a connection with the public for being a genuine family who lived on the White House.
Coates is a journalist, author and comic book writer. Coates is a national correspondent for the “The Atlantic,” a large magazine and multi-platform publisher. His books and articles voice out America’s racial injustice and inequality that’s read by many.
More recently Coates is the writer of the new Black Panther series which is also an upcoming blockbuster film, features a predominantly black cast with a black superhero. Coates, and other African-American writers and journalists, give our society a voice. Individuals may not be as brazen as Coates and journalists alike, their works become the voice of those who are too quiet to speak out about the social injustice.
Readers of his work look up to him, for his ability to pick on America for its lack of advancement in inequality. Journalists like Coates are what people admire, their powerful voice that bring forth the struggles of racial discrimination in a supposed “Land of the Free” where not every voice is heard.
A civil rights activist, King has become a social justice journalist whose reporting and whistle blowing have exposed racism, corruption and injustice.
Born to a white mother and black father, King’s experience with racism has been a major factor to his career as a writer on black affairs throughout the most of his life. According to a police detective investigating, “everyone in town knew about his biracial heritage.” Growing up in the deep south in the town of Versailles, Kentucky — when King was in high school he was the victim of a hate crime perpetrated by a “dozen red necks” according to his police statement.
From this event, he strove on to become an avid and outspoken member for the black community, speaking out against police brutality — notably on the events following the police shooting on Michael Brown. He is now a contributor and political commentator to syndicated liberal news network The Young Turks led by Cenk Uygur. Mostly, he is the reporter people trust to document injustice issues in America.
Screenwriter, storyteller, film director: DuVernay is becoming an icon. She is the first African-American woman to win Best Director Prize during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere.” She has also directed the critically acclaimed film “Selma.” Her documentary “13th” offers a deep look at the prison industrial complex and its roots in slavery, a work that boosted her credibility.
DuVernay sheds light on civil rights and the racial injustice suffered by African-Americans. As a film director in Hollywood where sex sells, her works serve as an inspiration for future African-American directors and as a prominent voice for the enlightened.
She has been designated the most decorated American Olympian gymnast in history. Born to a dysfunctional family of alcoholics and drug addicts, these factors did not prevent Biles from taking an interest in gymnastics.
At the age of 6, she had her first experience with gymnastics as part of a day care field trip. Instructors prompted her to pursue the career and throughout her middle and high school pursuit of the subject, she became well known winning numerous titles and championships.
Eventually her goals of becoming an aspiring Olympian paid off when she was recruited to be part of the US Olympic Gymnastic Team at the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil –becoming part of the Olympics gold medal winning team the “Final Five.”
To have the greatest gymnast of all time be African-American is sure to be an inspiration to little girls across the world. And her star power as an Olympian will ensure her influence in the years to come.