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.