Knowing your Ancestry May Help you Better Learn your History and Shape your Future

Some years ago, scientists began to use DNA testing to determine a person’s heritage/ancestry.  Back then, there were probably one or two of these services available. Now, there is a proliferation of such services, such as Ancestry.com, myheritage.com, Geneology.com, etc. Besides knowing one’s ethnic origins, it can help us determine “genetic predispositions” that are transmitted by the genes. For example the “sickle cell gene is peculiar to those of African and Mediterranean origin.

As we celebrate Black History Month this February and other ethnic months throughout this year, you may want to avail yourself of one of these services to determine your ethnicity and ancestry. In case you are wondering, no, I am not trying to sell any of these services nor do I collect a commission from any of them. I just want to make the point that it is worth knowing your ancestry so you can learn more about your history. I have African-American friends (Oprah, Spike, Denzell, etc.), who after taking these tests have discovered that their roots are in specific nations or tribes in Africa. As a result, some have begun making trips to these areas to connect with long-lost family members.

Whatever ethnicity you belong to, learn your history. Those who are African-American will find that their history does not begin with slavery.  Indeed, some of their ancestors were never slaves. They were kings, warriors, and scholars.  There is a certain amount of pride and self-esteem that comes with knowing that. So, as Black History Month comes to a close, we must continue celebrating our history, progress, and achievements (regardless of our ancestry) as we build on the past to secure a better future.

 

Celebrating Black History and Other Months

Today, February 1, marks the beginning of Black History Month. A month when we focus on the history and achievements of Blacks in the diaspora. Black History Month was originated in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland. In 1926 the first Negro History Week was celebrated in the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  As the years went on and as the Civil Rights Movement evolved, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976 (www.history.com/topics/black-history).The rest is history (pardon the pun).

As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s remember that the United States is the greatest nation in the world because of our diversity. We will have a series of activities throughout this month and hope you will join us in our celebrations.  Please also take note that there will be other celebrations of our diversity and culture throughout the year. These include but are not limited to:

March – Women’s History Month, Irish-American Month, and Greek-American Heritage Month

April – Arab-American Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Celebrate Diversity Month

May – Asian Heritage Month and Jewish-American Heritage Month

June – Caribbean-American Heritage Month and LGBT Pride Month

July – French-American Heritage Month and American Heritage Month

August – Family Heritage Month

September – National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct 15) and German-American Heritage Month

October – Filipino-American Heritage Month, LGBT History Month, and Italian-American Heritage Month

November – Native-American Heritage Month

December – Human Rights Month

Please make a special effort to join us in celebrating all of our history, culture and achievement. After all, that is what has made this nation what it is today.