This blog post was written by Undergraduate Assistant Kayla Thompson.
Origins of Black History Month and 2021’s Theme
Before introducing my family, let us delve into the origins of Black History Month, which trace back to 1926 when a group — the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) — decided to sponsor a national Negro History Week. The leaders behind this concept, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland, were both dedicated to researching African Americans and people of African descent. At first, ASALH chose the second week of February to celebrate Negro History Week to purposefully coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. By 1976, the celebration of African American life extended from being a week in February to an entire month. President Gerald Ford was the first to officially recognize Black History Month as he felt it was crucial to honor the accomplishments of black Americans that were too-often forgotten. Each American president has since endorsed a specific theme for Black History Month. The theme for 2021 is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.”
Meet the Family
Now that we have a better understanding of the origins of Black History Month, I want to take some time to introduce my family — Andre, Paulette, and Christian Thompson — who have always pushed me to be better and have encouraged me in all of my academic pursuits. My parents, Andre and Paulette, both enlisted in the U.S. Air Force straight out of high school, meeting at their first base in Okinawa, Japan. They married shortly after that in 1994 and will be celebrating their 27th anniversary in a month or so. My mom served in the military for nine years after deciding to stay home with Christian and me. During my brother’s senior year in high school, my mom decided to go back to college and finish getting her college degree. She is attending Dallas Christian College (DCC), majoring in Bible and Psychology. My mom is looking forward to graduating this year as well. My dad stayed in the Air Force, retiring after 26 years of dedicated service. Currently, he works for the Internal Revenue Service as an IT specialist. In his spare time, my dad has also been working on building the family business, Thompson Technology Services Group (TTSG). My brother, Christian, graduated high school last year, during the craziness of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since then enrolled in Collin Community College. He has been enjoying his freshman year and plans to graduate with an associate’s degree in Communication Design. Christian is a talented artist, and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for him these next couple of years.
- Instead of complaining, fix it; if you can’t fix it, then learn to be grateful for what you have.
- Stop worrying. Pray about it!
- All that we ask is that you do your best. Everything else will work itself out.
- Learn to be a good steward of money by not wasting my electricity. Turn off the lights!
- When everything is said is done, and everyone else is long gone, we will still be here, so we must treat each other better.
- Put God first. After all, He is the reason why you’re here, and He is the One to keep you. He is a Keeper.
- Don’t forget who you belong to. Maintain your identity.
- Don’t fool yourself. It does matter what you feed your mind, body, and spirit. What you put in will come out! You’re in control.
- Know your worth! You are valuable. Those that don’t respect your worth don’t deserve your shine.
- Enjoy the season that you are in because time flies by so fast. Soak in whatever lesson God is trying to show you and learn from past mistakes.
Wrap-up: Life During the COVID-19 Pandemic
It has been a wild ride this past year as America continues to grapple with the aggressive nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be finishing my senior year entirely online, I would have thought that person was crazy. My family has been instrumental in my seamless transition to online schooling. They fully supported my decision to come home, finishing my college journey with those who supported my aspirations from the beginning. I am truly blessed to have them in my life. As yet another chapter of my life comes to a close, I revel in the extra time I have been able to spend with my family, making an everyday commitment to “Live Well, Laugh After, and Love Much (Rachael Enigson).”