The Raider Review

Identity in Black History

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The way a black person identifies their cultural identity varies based on the person. Some identify their heritage through their culture (food, music, fashion, etc) that has shaped them, others through the experiences that their racial identity created for them, and sometimes it is a combination of both. Either way Black History Month celebrates both the racial and cultural identity black people have created and the accomplishments of this diverse group of people who share a similar heritage.

To many students of African American descent at Eleanor Roosevelt, black history takes on different meanings. Junior Noelle Njoku sees Black History Month as “the collection of events and stories that illustrate the achievements, the excellence, and the struggles that have occurred among people of African descent.” To Divine Arewe, black history is “a time solely to express ourselves as one group and what we’re about.” And to Taylor Carrion, black history month is “appreciating the great that came, and comes, from our culture.”

Finding identity in one’s blackness is crucial to taking pride in one’s black heritage. Senior Inaya Andrews identifies herself as “ being Afro-Caribbean through [her] culture” and Raymond Solomon defines his black identity “through [his] skin color.” 14 out of 19 recorded responses, like Vonteis Brown, identify themselves through “both” their skin color and the culture they have inherited.

A variety of black music, cuisine, and art have also been celebrated this month by the students of Eleanor Roosevelt, such as the Black Student Union’s ‘The Awakening’ that featured black student artists, poets, and singers. According to the 19 responses, the favorite black musical artists of some students are Erykah Badu, Aminé, Frank Ocean, Stevie Wonders, and Bob Marley. Some of their favorite dishes include mac n cheese, oxtail, cassava leaf, meat pie, callaloo, jollof rice, roti, Haitian plate, puff puff and banku.  

As Black History Month comes to a close, it is important to remember that the significance of black accomplishments, life, and culture does not end on February 28. Recognizing black history and its importance should continue year round because it empowers black people to take pride in their past and have hope and confidence for the future they’ll create.

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Eleanor Roosevelt High School's Student-Run Newspaper
Identity in Black History