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20. Resources pt 3 - The Strength of Human Spirit

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

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Hey everyone, today is Monday February 22, 2021 and today we are continuing to take our social emotional learning lens and think about resources while talking about Black Excellence. There is so much to learn about the capacity for human resilience, strength, community, survival, expression, and thought that it is hard to figure out where to begin. So, here is how we are going to do it. Names. Here are just a handful of names that exemplify Black Excellence, and please know, the presence of these names is not an attempt to over elevate some, and the absence of some names is not a comment on a person’s greatness, these are just some names, every school student should know. The work that these people have given to us all may be one of the greatest resources we have. The resource of human-spirit-effort. The things they have created, produced, or compiled are tremendous resources we can all utilize.

So, when we learn these people and their work, we build tremendous resource.

Here we go...

Carter G. Woodson

Frederick Douglas

Sojourner Truth

W.E.B. Du Bois

Booker T. Washington

Thurgood Marshall

The Tuskegee Airmen

General Colin Powell

Harriet Tubman

Alicia Garza

Patrice Cullors

Opal Tometi

The Children who risked their bodies and spirits in the Birmingham Children’s Crusade which took place in Birmingham Alabama in 1963, many of them were our age, some were older, some were as young as 7 years old, that is first graders.

The Little Rock Nine, they risked everything to do what we may sometimes take for granted, going to school.

Ruby Bridges

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rosa Parks

Malcolm X

James Baldwin whose words can still shake America.

The fearless and brilliant Angela Davis

Huey P. Newton

Tommie Smith & John Carlos who stood before the world with their fists raised.

Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Yella, Eazy E, MC Ren that is the group you might know as NWA.

Ta-Nehisi Coates who made a case for reparations, Between the World and Me, and the new series of Black Panther comics

And speaking of brilliant thinkers and writers,

Michael Eric Dyson

Paul Beatty

James McBride

How about scientists?

Annie Easley

Neil Degrasse Tyson

George Washington Carver

Dr. Charles Drew

Dr. Patricia Bath

And artists

Jacob Lawrence

Amy Sherald

Kehinde Wiley

What about the humor and satire of

Richard Pryor

Dave Chappelle

Patrice O’Neal

Wanda Sykes

Tiffany Hadish

Or the music of

Ella Fitzgerald

Louis Armstong

Duke Ellington

John Coltrane


Jay Z

James Brown


Public Enemy

Kendrick Lamar

Or the writing and directing of

August Wilson

Spike Lee

Jordan Peele

Ryan Coogler

Maya Angelou

Oprah Winfrey

Amanda Gorman

Ava DuVernay

Issa Rae

Or earth shakers

Jack Johnson

Muhammed Ali

Barack Obama

Michelle Obama

Stacey Abrams

Reverend Raphael Warnock

And this list could go on and on, for each one of these famous people there are so many who faced or face the same challenges and difficulties all these people faced, without the assistance of fame, if fame is assistance, it is, it is not.

To think of how the work of all these people, and the resources they have given us to draw upon, you can quickly see how these resources have in fact helped our entire society to grow. These type of spirit-resources are something that we would encourage everyone to reflect on. If your story or the story of your family is different from their story, consider what it would be like. Consider what can be learned from this. What would you do if that were your story? What resources would you put back in the world for others? Excellence is not about achievement it is about spirit. It is about the desire to express and how you choose to do so. That is what excellence is. And certainly, all these people are reflections of excellence, of human excellence, of black excellence.

That is a lot to think about. Can you find examples of excellence in your life? Or better yet, can we all choose to be excellent in our lives? One of the lasting legacies of understanding Black History is understanding that it is not just outdated but a thing that lives in the present, and you don’t have to be black to celebrate it. It is the story of human achievement, of survival, of resilience, of strength, of community, and expression. The lessons we can learn from just the people we mentioned earlier can be present in the celebration of individuals and achievements for sure. But these lessons can also be universal and inspiring. And if we really try to learn what we are being taught then it will help us all achieve the goal of making a truly equal and equitable society and that will take all of us together. Until next week, may your thoughts and feelings be with you.

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