History is a window into the past and historians are the protectors of information. Historians research the past and archive pertinent information for future use. History tells the story of those who came before us and helps us to gather information about other cultures. Historical information helps societies to predict future events and avoid the mistakes of our past.
In American history, the stories of African Americans have been passed down through generations by word of mouth. For centuries, African Americans were not allowed to read or write and had to find creative ways to share their culture through stories and songs. In public schools, African American history is normally relegated to Black History month, the shortest month of the year. During that month, schools teach children that African American history begins at slavery and ends after Civil Rights. However, Black history did not begin with slavery and is still ongoing as Black people continue to make strides towards equality. In a day and age where DNA kits from Ancestry.com and 23andMe prove that many people are of African descent, African Americans and Blacks throughout the diaspora are looking to protect their stories and share them as an unabridged collection of the Black experience prior to and post the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending the day with Ebonee Davis. Ebonee, is a historian with a background in political science and museum studies. She is also an incredible mother to twin boys. During our time together, we went on a walking tour through Ward 1 in Washington, DC. Ebonee provided history on the neighborhoods and locations of significance during our tour. The neighborhoods we traversed were historically Black neighborhoods that are currently seeing a change in demographic due to gentrification.
Ebonee is challenged with preserving history and culture for a people who have had their identities of origin stripped from them during slavery. George Santayana said it best, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Please find all photos in this series here: