The Importance of African American History

The event that I attended for this year’s Black History Project was the Candine Marie Bendow talks Red Lip Theology. This event was virtual and in person at San Diego Central Library on March 17, 2023. The sponsors that were included in this event were Dr. Terresa Bert who is a dean of the University Library at the University of San Diego. Dr. Terresa explains how she wants to bring people together and how grateful she is to be where she is. The next speaker is Candine Marie Bendow who is a multi-genre theologian who centralized her work on faith, beauty, feminism, and culture. Candice gives voice to black women shared experiences of jouring and healing towards wholeness. Candice challenges black women to think critically about how they see the world, themselves, and God in our society today. Candice is the main speaker of this program and she was very well spoken and knew what she was talking about. Candice talks about her love for the library and she feels as if it is her second home because growing up, her mom would take her to the libraries on Friday’s and Candice would spend hours reading books and enjoying being there. Candice makes a strong point that “black women are never heralded as the four runners of religious history making in our community” (7:47).  Candice goes on to explain how black women are rarely given the same spotlight that men are given which is unfair especially since black women are putting a lot of effort into making a change. This is an ongoing occurrence in our society today as well, where women in general no matter the race are not given equal opportunities in life due to their gender. Candice explains how she was committed to working towards getting that exposure for black women who are making a change in the world for better.  The main core idea of this program is aiming towards recognition being given out equally towards those who are trying to advocate for a change in our society today. In our class, African American History, we have learned many events about our past where many African Americans were fighting for a change but their voices were silenced due to the conditions they were living in during that time. Speaking out and not being afraid of your history are things we have learned throughout class that were also talked about in the program I attended.

Throughout the program, Candice expresses her passion and strength to fight for who she is and to not let people dictate how her life is seen or goes. Chapter 9  “Reconstruction: The Making and Unmaking of a Revolution” in Freedom on My Mind, discusses the way African Americans were living post Revolutionary War. Upon the end of the Revolutionary War, African Americans were now faced with adapting to the new lifestyle they would become a part of. Most states started to abolish slavery and those who were enslaved were now given their freedom that was much deserved throughout the torturous years that slavery was happening. Towards the end of the program, Candince talks about Benbow talking about “Naming herself for herself and not for others”. To further explain this point, Candice goes on to talk about the labels we carry within ourselves are the labels we give ourselves. Candice is explaining how we as humans are portrayed to others based upon how we carry ourselves and how we label ourselves. When African Americans were enslaved, they were given stereotypes that everyone that “looks like them” deserves the same thing they are going through. Through this, African Americans had to go through many mental challenges within themselves of knowing that what they were going through was beyond unlawful but still having hope to escape what they were going through. In chapter 9 of Freedom on My Mind, it states, “ “I would rather stay here and starve and die if it comes to that than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters” (897). This quote was said by Jourdon Anderson who was an enslaved man with his wife and three children. The quote above explains how Jourdan still feared after slavery ended that his children and wife would still have to fear of rape and getting sexual exploitation by white men. Candice explains in her program event that growing up she always feared about the “what ifs” but she understood that she had to hold herself strong and carry herself properly. 

African American History focuses on the journey of enslaved humans as they slowly started to gain their freedom. Even in our society today, there is still a big difference in our wealth class which a majority of that problem has to do with race. In a part of the program, Candice talks a bit about what non people of color owe to african americans because of what they put them through. Candice states, “Non people of color owe it to people of color to interrogate the systems that push and grow you and ask yourself if they reflect the world that people of color want to see” (39:42). This quote explains how non people of color have to put themselves in a person’s shoes who deals with racial injustice and ask themselves if that is really how they want to see the world. An article called, What American Owes: How reparations would look and who would pay, explains how reparations are the answer to help eliminate wealth differences which are caused due to systemic racism. In the article it states, “Advocates and experts argue that ongoing systemic racism has placed Black Americans at a disadvantage in everything from obtaining an education to being paid fair wages, purchasing homes, starting businesses and passing down generational wealth — all components needed to achieve robust economic health” (Samara Lynn and Catherine Thorbecke). This quote explains how systemic racism in our society today is causing African Americans to be at a disadvantage when it comes to education, fair pay wages, getting a job and generational wealth. These are only a few of the disadvantages african americans have to go through and those disadvantages are essential to obtain a good economic health.  

The next topic Candice focused on and was one of the most important topics was her making of Red Lip Theology focusing on being committed to a space of truth and not feeling as if you need to portray a certain image to “fit” into our world today. Candice goes on to talk about the importance of being committed to creating space for the persian to want to emerge. This means that we as humans have to make space in front of us for the future us. If we over complicate our life and add more negative things to it that are not needed, our future selves will not be able to be at its full potential. We have to create spaces for us to be and believe. Another important topic that Candice talks about is the fact that our education system today is denying certain classes because it makes the history of this country feel unbearable. Candice talked negatively about this because it is evident that people who are educated about the history of our country are more intelligent when it comes to making decisions that affect all races. 

Throughout this journey of creating this blog and viewing a Black History Program, I was able to gain more knowledge about our countries past as well as get a new perspective of certain topics. Candice preached throughout the program the importance of black women and people in general in church and the equality we must have when it comes to religion. Our visions of life should be a lot bigger than the four walls in a church. What we preach about in church should be spread out into the world and not just keep within that certain church. African American History and Candice Bendow program helped me get a better understanding of African American history. One of the most important things I have learned through this semester is that it will be a lifelong journey of constant learning and pushing forward to solving issues related to race. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *