“Incredible stories-well done!” “These are wonderful and inspiring articles.” These are examples of some of the feedback about Granby Racial Reconciliation’s (GRR) daily profiles of Black Americans posted to the organization’s website (granbyrr.com) this February.
The series shared the stories of lesser-known Black Americans whose brilliance and gifts changed the world. In one example, the profiles of Annie Turnbo-Malone and Madam CJ Walker inspired many readers. A retired teacher lamented that he, “could not find information like this and I sure could have used it for instruction in the classroom”. Another reader shared her appreciation in learning about these women by saying, “They are an inspiration! The things we never learned in school, yet so important.” A common response to the profiles, especially the ones from the Civil Rights Movement, was that readers became aware of the gaps in their own educations.
Brita Gotberg shared, “I’m so appreciative of the GRR and the work put into bringing us the opportunity to learn every day in February and beyond.” Another community member expressed the importance of reading about Black success found in American History and in current times.
The series began with a quotation by the father of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” It concluded with justice system reformer, Bryan Stevenson’s powerful commencement addresses including, “the truth is we can’t change the world by doing just what’s convenient and comfortable. I’ve looked for examples where things changed, where oppression was ended, where inequality was overcome, when people did only what was convenient and comfortable, and I can’t find any examples of that. To change the world, you’re going to sometimes have to make uncomfortable choices, to be in uncomfortable places, and be proximate and be hopeful and change narratives.”
In acknowledgement that there continues to be underrepresentation in U.S. history books and news stories of Black contribution, Black brilliance, Black joy, and Black success, these profiles will remain on the GRR website for 12 months of the year. The GRR Steering Committee invites all to read them at granbyracialreconciliation.com/blackhistory.
GRR also invites the community to attend the second annual free Arts and Education festival, “Granby Celebrates Juneteenth” Saturday, June 17 at Salmon Brook Park.