By Effie Rolfe, Chicago Crusader
Writing your history—is everyday. It’s been said, “When it comes to your history, make sure you hold the pen.” Make it a new thing. It’s not just to be written but to be rewritten, but keep the core. As we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and prepare for Black History Month 2017, let us be intentional when it comes to what legacy we leave behind. It’s never too late for you to make a difference. Regardless of how small or unnoticed, you are continuously writing your history. Also, it is constantly changing as you grow and evolve into your true greater self. Thus, it is necessary that you keep the main thing, the main thing.
The world has forever changed because of the heartfelt work that many African Americans selflessly gave including Dr. Martin Luther King, Carter G. Woodson, Harriett Tubman and Sojourner Truth. Last year it was announced that in honor of the 100th anniversary of the19th Amendment that Harriet Tubman will be displayed on the $20 bill beginning in the year of 2020. Also,
although seldom mentioned, the works from countless other African Americans made contributions that also changed the landscape of American history with inventions that are now commonplace. Garrett A. Morgan invented the traffic light or traffic signal after witnessing a collision between an automobile and a horse-drawn carriage. Additionally, many were on the cutting-edge and leaders in their field such as Bessie Coleman, who was the first African American woman to receive her pilot’s license and to fly over the United States. Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Stewart received a medical degree in 1870. Did you know that Booker T. Washington was the first African American to have his face on a half dollar (50 cents) coin in 1946? Lays and Ruffle potato chips would be non-existent had it not been for Hyram S. Thomas, who invented the potato chip. Reports indicate that he couldn’t satisfy one of the customers and kept recooking the potato to get the chip the right size. He finally cut the potato as thin as possible and the customer loved it…hence, the potato chip was born. Inventions continue such as the cell phone, the light bulb, the computer, the elevator and the list continues. Research shows that President Obama was not the first African American President of the United States of America and there were at least five before him beginning as early as 1781. Moving forward, some of the baby boomers and even younger generation don’t know that New York State Senator Shirley Chisholm ran for U.S. President in 1972. Chicago’s Rev. Jesse Jackson was the second to mount a nationwide campaign in 1984 for President of the United States and ran again in 1988. By the way, he received 311 death threats during his campaign and many even now.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.” Your work is not a job but rather your life’s mission and what you were created to do on earth. Often your job will prepare you for your work. God gave you life because he had work for you to do. What does this mean in regards to writing your history? Well—so glad you asked. I believe we look at the historical figures in Black history as if there is nothing more to be achieved, however, I believe since the world continues to evolve a tremendous amount of work is yet to be done. But it will take you to know your purpose and be about the work because it will make a difference in the world.
Your life is bigger than your job, your family, your house, your degree, your bank account, etc.,…it is about impacting the world. Just do it—it will make a lasting impression in the scheme of things. How will you be remembered by your family, neighborhood—what legacy will you leave? It’s never too late to start, as long as you have a pulse you have a purpose.
Everyday you live, you are writing your obituary, as well as a part of history. After all is said and done, the contributions that you have given will determine what will be read and said regarding your life.
What history are you writing…?
© Effie Rolfe is an Author of “Supersize Your Thinking,” Media Personality and Motivational Speaker. You can contact her on twitter.com/effiedrolfe. Listen to her show daily on urbanpraiseradio.org (2015 Stellar Award Winner for Best Internet Radio Station).