Good morning, BTV!
It’s always a joy to write the newsletter each week, but writing it during Black History month brings a deeper sense of joy and purpose.
The purpose for me every Black History Month is to discover. I remember being a young kid finding out the street light was created by Black inventor Garrett Morgan and being amazed at each light my mother’s car stopped at — she didn’t share the same joy, unfortunately.
This year, I learned that automatic elevator doors were invented by Alexander Miles in 1887 after his daughter was nearly killed from falling down a shaft. Before then people had to manually shut the doors, adding worry to an already risky form of transportation during that time.
On a social level, Black History Month can be tense and uncomfortable. I’m sure every Black person has a story of being in class during BHM and the teacher has a lesson about Black history and the entire class looks to you as a token.
It may not be with malicious intent, but it puts huge expectations on Black people to be historians. That is not our job
We should revel in the individual opportunity of discovering the rich history of Black contributions to our country.
Jerry Pentecost, drummer for Old Crow Medicine Show, highlights the Black contributions here in Nashville and Tennessee as a whole in his latest guest column.
Here’s what else you’ll find in this week’s newsletter:
Ebonee Davis-Ifeobu, Bridgestone Americas’ vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, writes about her company’s journey of establishing a workplace representing people from every walk of life.
If you haven’t gotten acquainted with Kyra Watts, our latest addition to the Tennessean Opinion team, please watch her episode of the Tennessee Voices podcast. Watts breaks down her process in writing her latest columns.
I leave you wonderful people with a thought I had about the banning of the “Maus” book:
Everyone was worried that the critical race theory ban was going to silence just Black history, but as we’ve learned, it’s silencing every marginalized voice in Tennessee.
We need each other to speak up if we’re to stop these egregious actions. Elections are around the corner.
LeBron Hill is an opinion columnist for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee and the curator of the Black Tennessee Voices newsletter. Feel free to contact him at LHill@gannett.com. Find him on Twitter at @hill_bron or Instagram at @antioniohill12.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: The beauty and awkwardness of Black History Month