Art & Culture
Read Time: 3 min

the symphony of the black movements and kamala harris

Redux Extra February 3, 2021
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Black History Month couldn’t be more meaningful and euphoric than in the year 2021. The nation’s endorsement and election of Kamala Harris proved that what we thought to be impossible became possible, when a white man elected to the highest office of the land held hands with a Black woman, trusted to be his vice president and his advisor in the Oval Office. They were united. They were equals.

Kamala is also the first woman of South Asian descent to hold such office. And she is a woman qualified in her own right, with the skills and experience needed for the job.

Since 1976, Black History Month has been recognized by every American president and celebrated annually. This celebration, which recognizes the contributions and achievements of African Americans in the United States, appropriately takes place in the month of February, honoring the birth of two iconic figures in American history: President Abraham Lincoln (whose greatest and most memorable achievement is his role in ending slavery) and Frederick Douglass, the author and activist who led the antislavery movement during and after the Civil War.

Later, there were years of efforts and sacrifices made by countless numbers of Black men and women who paved the way and who are responsible for where we are today.

Consider Carter G. Woodson, the historian who came up with the initial idea of such a celebration, and who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), later known as Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Consider the establishment of the NAACP, founded on February 12, 1909 on the hundred-year anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. These organizations — with their positive visions, academic minds and relentless efforts — have inspired communities, academic institutions and individuals. All the while, they planted the seeds of freedom and paved the way for the impossible to become possible. For young, educated talents like Barack Obama to rise up to the presidency of the United States of America as the first Black man while the nation rejoiced his election and his ideas for change.

The beautiful symphony of Black history continues to play with harmony and hope for unity, elevating Black history to its perfection.

And now, once again in 2020, we the people have embraced another big change. We have taken a bigger stride, witnessing the achievement of a Black woman, Kamala Harris, as our first woman Vice President. “Yes we can.”

The Black movement over the course of history is not unlike a complex yet beautiful symphony with its highs and lows, moving methodically from lively and adroit to melodic and expressive, onward to a combination of minuets and scherzos of slow and serious gaits to a faster pace, often with humor, and all the way to a spirited and boisterous finale.

As most memorable symphonies are the products of many hours of painstaking rehearsals and an orchestra with many talented musicians and different tunes from different instruments, so is any movement. And in particular, so is the Black movement in this country.

The opportunity to hear this symphony of freedom, and to celebrate those who have endured the long and painstaking years of rehearsal for progress, patiently walking through the injustices of time, living with dignity and never stopping to give and to love America…that is elevating. It deserves such a celebration.

Without a doubt, Kamala Harris is standing on the shoulders of so many Black men and women leaders, activists, educators, writers, poets, artists, soldiers and laborers who contributed and sacrificed so much before her.

From Rosa Parks, who silently spoke a thousand words by claiming her right place on the bus, to Harriet Tubman, who helped so many enslaved African Americans escape from slavery along the Underground Railroad to facilitate their freedom, to the 1960s peaceful marches and eloquent speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. and James Baldwin, and the support of young Black men like John Lewis along with so many other voices, from authors and poets like Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison to lead the way, to be the guiding light on the path of generations to follow.

The beautiful symphony of Black history continues to play with harmony and hope for unity, elevating Black history to its perfection.

Kamala Harris and the next generations of Black and white citizens will play in unison in the best symphony of the human race.

Happy Black History Month to all Americans.

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