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It is now February. What does that mean? Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday, (I live in Illinois) so we celebrate Lincoln’s Birthday as well. It is also Black History Month. Do you, does your place of employment, does your church or civic group do anything to recognize it? My guess is if you are black the answer is yes and if you are white the answer is no.
Chris Fields (Blogger-in-Chief) at Performance I Create and I have had this conversation for several years running. Does the site key on this or not? Chris, who is black, thinks we are pushing the issue, (IMO) however I (being white) think that it is our role to do so. We have a forum, we have a platform to discuss whatever we want so long as it is somewhat related to human performance – so I think we should. So if you don’t want to read my annual take on Black History Month -> Exit here... otherwise read on.
When I think of those who could and should be recognize for Black History Month I think of the pioneers. The folks like Rosa Parks or Jackie Robinson, those folks who put themselves out there. There is an old saying about pioneers, “they are the ones with the arrows in their backs.”
As I contemplated Black History Month there was another person who I kept coming back to who was a pioneer in another area. The gentleman I am speaking of is Arthur Ashe. Here is a great piece on Arthur’s Life at Bio.com
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In the video, they state that by the time Ashe was on the scene in tennis, black athletes were able to compete in most areas in the United States. While this may be true, my gut tells me that he got less than a warm reception from many, like so many of the other pioneering black athletes. That did not deter him, in his time he was the best tennis player in the world.
Sadly Ashe, contracted AIDS via a blood transfusion, but he handled the whole matter like the class act that he was, advocating for the disease and for research. Sadly, we lost him at age 49 in 1993.
I remember Arthur Ashe’s ascent onto the world stage, when I was a young man. At that time, I thought this dude is a class act, and is making a difference. You know what, I was right then about Arthur Ashe, and I am right again Chris, because we need to continue to focus on Black History in February.