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THE TIGER AND THE TORCH ebook

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PUT THE “I” IN HISTORY ROAR! “THE GREATEST DISCOVERY OF ALL TIME IS THAT A PERSON CAN CHANGE HIS FUTURE BY MERELY CHANGING HIS ATTITUDE.” 88 OPRAH WINFREY WHY THE “I”? The concept of putting the “I” in history means that you begin to make a personal connection with history. It means taking time to sort out fact from fable. It means being open to what you thought was actually true could be entirely false. It means recognizing that history relates to us in the here and now and that what happens today becomes the history of tomorrow. Putting the “I” in history means making the choice to learn from the past, to work in the present and to be willing to lay a foundation for others to make progress in the future. All historic milestones reflect pivotal accomplishments. It is the coming together of people for the same cause that contributes to long overdue freedoms being gained and history being made. ROAR! HISTORY IS ALL AROUND US. FIND INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT. History occurs when someone decides to sacrifice, persevere, hold out, fight, stand up, think differently, speak, write and in some cases even die for something or someone valuable to them. Decisions are often made in conjunction with strong personal convictions. It is a whole lot easier to say, “Somebody should…” instead of, “I will….” Indeed, there are some individuals who specifically set out to make history; however, many of the major historical events that have occurred resulted from one person’s decision to do something that just so happened to be out of the ordinary. That’s why. ROAR! “WHEN YOU START A NEW TRAIL EQUIPPED WITH COURAGE, STRENGTH AND CONVICTION, THE ONLY THING THAT CAN STOP YOU IS YOU!” 89 RUBY B RIDGES THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 65

ROAR! THINK ABOUT THE PLACES IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND HOW THIS BOOKER T. WASHINGTON QUOTE APPLIES TO YOU: “START WHERE YOU ARE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, KNOWING THAT WHAT YOU HAVE IS PLENTY ENOUGH.” 90 Building houses, churches, schools, and meeting places after the Civil War was of paramount importance for the success and survival of African Americans. It is incredible that people raised thousands upon thousands of dollars in an era when many people were making less than a dollar a day. People donated time, skills, materials, money and other resources to establish places that reflected the promise of a better life. They built their communities from the ground up. Unfortunately, it is disheartening to see what some of those places have become. Fortunately, local historical societies, museums and preservation groups dedicate their time and resources to collect and share the artifacts of the people and places gone by. LET’S GO TO THE MUSEUM Museums are not an end but rather the beginning to unearthing the truths buried within our history. Through them we can continue to discover, preserve, and share the richness of the African American culture both now and for generations to come. Museums, books, artwork, houses, gardens, songs and buildings are the result of someone’s dreams. She or he must possess an intense desire to actualize that dream and see its reality AND potentiality. The St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall in Blacksburg, VA, the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum in Lynchburg, VA, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in Richmond, VA, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, experienced setbacks amidst their progress while completing their building projects. Yet they had a dream, took on the burden and now they will continue to reap the rewards for following through. But until it’s actually done, it can be a burden to the bearer; however, in the end it can prove to be highly rewarding. Langston Hughes’ 91 poem Harlem 92 succinctly describes the bitter sweetness of it all. THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 66

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