Black History Month is a time of reflection on the contributions of Black people to our American society.
Black history does not start in America but finds it roots in Africa. It’s just not about famous Black people. It’s about lifting up the fact that Black is beautiful, powerful and a blessing. Over the years people have attacked the notion that Black is beautiful and turned Black into something that represents a curse—that it is inferior and has other negative connotations. As we celebrate being Black (not Blackish), we need to remember that we are all made in the image of God.
Because we are made in the image of God, there are no limitations on what we can do—no limitations on our minds or the fact that we have a soul. Stereotypes have distorted the image of Black people, including labeling Black women as Jezebels and Black men as studs.
Some people can remember when it was thought that Black people did not have a soul, were not capable of worship, or of having a relationship with God. Others can recall that it was thought that Black people could not learn, and we have all seen enough slave narratives showing the prohibition on slaves learning how to read and write. But we are all made in the image of God.
Many of us watched Selma, the movie depicting the brutal violence that took place to secure the right to vote without restrictions. How can someone come away from this movie not exercising the right to vote? Unfortunately, as we look at the health disparities in the African American community, the prison population, low voter turnout, and the high school graduation rate, we can see that many of us need to be reminded that we are made in the image of God.
If we remember that God has created us in the same image that he created other people, we will not look at how God made us as a hindrance or view it as something negative—no matter what television images say or how other people define us:
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth,” Genesis 1:27-28.
Black is beautiful because God made it. This is why Black History Month is just not about a certain race of people. It is about all humans. God created male and female and gave them both authority over God’s other creations. This month-long celebration is about valuing humanity and its contributions to God’s Kingdom, as we were created to do and given power to do.
It’s about appreciating God’s creativity in all of us, whether we are of African descent, European descent, Asian descent, or Hispanic descent. We are made in the image of God.
As the old saying goes, “God don’t make no junk.” We have to know that we are not junk. We are made in the image of God.
The more we value how God has made us, we will value and find worth in who God has made us. We will break glass ceilings and break changes of oppression as we live our lives knowing that we are made in the image of God.