Every year on the 32nd day, our country is indirectly given “permission” to acknowledge the struggle and honor the enormous contributions that African Americans have made to this country. February 1st marks the beginning of a 28 or 29-day, (depending on the year) observation of the heroic individuals that have left an indelible mark on the world and undoubtedly, changed the course of human history. To commemorate their accomplishments many events are held in their honor and worksheets with generic biographies are passed out across America. This tradition started in 1970 atKent State University and was nationally adopted in 1976 when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
A history that is rich and illustrious. A history that is not only too often neglected stated President Ford, but purposely suppressed, ignored, distorted and flat out eradicated. Most American outlets that disseminate information have been utilized to erase the power, presence, and significance of Black people outside of how they assist white people. To add insult to injury, has been the conditioning of our history, which is reduced to one month of recognition and not all year round, giving the impression that our history is some novel idea and minimizes the transformative impact of our achievements.
Given that, in 50 years, there has been no real attempt to adequately recognize our many contributions. We will no longer sit by quietly or modestly, as it relates to praising our ancestors and giving our heroes, among the living, their flowers while they can still smell them. That’s one of the main reasons why the team at Positivity Pays has embraced the challenge of “changing the narrative.” Which narrative, one might ask? The one that goes a little something like this – “Black people don’t work with each other.” Well, we do subscribe to that white supremacist talking point and are proud to celebrate those that consistently support their kinfolk with an innovative idea.
A marketing ploy started out in the 1880s to promote tobacco companies. Then, in the 1950s this gimmick turned into a nationwide obsession when Topps began creating trading cards that displayed high quality images coupled with statistical and biographical information of baseball players. Now imagine if the most important leaders in our community were put on the same pedestal as athletes. Baseball players were so honored in the 50s when it was still America’s national pastime.
Imagine if there were such a thing as an autographed 1963 Malcolm X or Martin Luther King mint condition 1 of 10 trading card. How valuable would that be? If we began to consistently lift those who, every day without fanfare, did amazing things in our community. Those that aspire to the level of greatness of Dr. King and Brother Malcolm. How beneficial to our community would changing the current narrative to not ONLY, obsessively celebrate our athletes and entertainers but to also acknowledge the incredible work of our community leaders, activists, educators and entrepreneurs?
So… the innovative idea was, started on February 1, 2020, our heroes, the ones that we look to for inspiration, will be valued and celebrated just like the athletes. Given that, they too, will have their own trading cards with different themes and special editions. Each day during black history month an honoree was announced as the inaugural set has the 28 amazing individuals from South Florida that are here on our website.