Black Heroes and Remarkable People

Bats rock beach 1

During Black History Month, we pay tribute to many of the usual pioneers. During this period, we pay special attention to their contributions to history and their roles in the struggle. For example, we will remember Dr. King, who reinforced the power of civil disobedience and peaceful non-compliance. Despite the hurdles he faced, we were able to witness and live out the manifestation of his dream in the presidency of Barack Obama and our accomplishments.

We remember Rosa Parks, another pioneer whose desire for change and courage moved us to the front of the bus. We celebrate the 50th anniversary of Barbados’ independence and the pivotal role Dr. Barrow played. We think of Mandela and his courage, grace, and a brighter future for Apartheid South Africa. And we continue to thank and admire Congressman Elijah Cummings, who walked alongside Martin and fought many years on Capitol Hill for justice. There are many more pioneers we celebrate each year.

We owe a debt of gratitude to these pioneers, for indeed, they, along with many others, paved the way for us to be successful and attain a measure of equality and success. But what about the contributions of the remarkable people in our daily lives? Miriam-Webster defines a remarkable person as “worthy of being or likely to be noticed, especially as being uncommon or extraordinary.” Growing up in Barbados in our little village, I remembered the older women who carried trays of locally grown food balanced on their heads for miles. These ladies needed to earn enough money to purchase kerosene for their lanterns so their children could see at night to do schoolwork.

When I think of the remarkable people in my own life, such as my mother, who raised eight God faring children, who are Christians and raised their children to be God-fearing, my mother left a legacy. She left two practicing ministers, several nurses or medical professionals, and several children and grandchildren who either served or are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. I think of Mr. Deane, a surrogate grandfather to me who allowed me to visit with him at the lodge in Chimborazo to share ideas and discuss the books I read from the bookmobile. I still remember the many teachers who took the time to mentor and coach me, especially Jack Ward, my elementary teacher. He allowed me to spend many evenings in his home to watch him build and play guitars. These are some of the remarkable people in my life

Perhaps, there are or were remarkable people in your lives who went unnoticed. Remember the janitor who cleaned the school for 40 years, with hands like leather, bent over from looking at the ground, but probably more from embarrassment because he was in a school but not in the classroom and never learned to read or write. But he most likely saw thousands of children in his lifetime, but he kept them safe by merely cleaning the floors and preventing germs from spreading in the bathrooms every day.

Two of Ena's grands currently serving
Two of Ena’s grands currently serving

And then there are you. Perhaps, you worked to feed the homeless in your communities, worked with the Boys and Girls club, and maybe worked two jobs to take care of your children when there were no other options. Maybe, you are touching many people today using social media to encourage others around the world. The point is, we will not forget our pioneers during Black History Month, but we can set aside some time to thank a remarkable black person in our lives.

Let’s celebrate our pioneers and the remarkable people this month.

You are remarkable!

Stan Brooks, PhD

By Stan Brooks, PhD

Dr. S. MacNivan Brooks is an Intergroup Leadership Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author.

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