Celebrate Black History Month

Happy Hump Day, All!

Awaking today, though I appreciate each day, was particularly special for me. It is February 1st, 2012 and the first day of Black History Month. On Saturday past while at the motorcycle shop and getting a new rear tire put on the Night Hawk, I had occasion to speak with a couple of the guys there. Somehow, we got to talking about Black History Month. So one guy asked me, “Why do you guys get a whole month? And don’t tell me it’s because the other 11 months are White History Months!” We both chuckled since he was pretty much joking but I sensed some seriousness in his tone. I didn’t have time to teach a course on “Why We Have Black History Month” so I let the laughter handle that moment. Peace be still.

So, last night was another reason I felt good this morning when waking up. A boarding school chum and college comrade and a friend for forty something years was in town doing some research and solidifying relationships with the Native American leadership of the Seminoles. He is the Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. His name is Kevin “Billy” Gover. Having been born and raised in Oklahoma on or near a reservation, he found his way, as did I, to St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH where we met. We were all recruited in efforts to integrate the WASPy prep school so that the kids of these wealthy families could get a glimpse of regular people in the real world that many of them would one day soon be leading. It also gave us, a select group of academically astute youth, an opportunity to see a world we may never have been able to see – and receive a quality education.

Kevin went on to Princeton where I also attended as you all well know, and our lives remained connected through fun and frolic … oh yeah … and some courses, too! So last night we met at the Hard Rock Cafe there in the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and Resort property in Hollywood, FL, which is very close to where I live and occasionally hang out, too. Dinner was great once we got started, but we spent like a half hour eating a lettuce wrap of chicken and carrots and sprouts and other veggies and mostly talking. It was great to see him and catch up on our adventures in this journey called “life”. We have had some common elements in those experiences, yet some very different ones.

There is a great connection between African slaves in this country and the Native Americans. I learn so much by reading Kevin’s posts on Facebook pertaining to the culture and civilization of these people, The Amerinds, if you will. I am glad our paths crossed again, and, I will remember the embrace we shared just before he entered the elevator at the Hard Rock parking structure to continue on his trip to visit Native American leadership in Mississippi and Louisiana. Peace be with you, my brother.

May we experience and open our hearts, minds and spirits to another Black History Month.

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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