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The ‘American Dream’

Courtesy of Izayah Morgan

By Izayah Morgan

Opinions Editor 

Black History Month is here and it is a time when Black history, inventions, and liberation are celebrated. It has been an event since the ’70s and helps teach people the history that went on throughout the United States.

This is critical when our own education system misinforms us and fails to teach us about African Americans and the struggles they went through. 

I’ll tell a personal story about its importance.

Up until middle school, I never got the “talk” about how people who looked like me were in chains for 400 years. I did not learn about how even after slavery ended, Black people were still barred from everything in society and thought of as less than human.

Ignorance is bliss.

It took until my junior year of high school when I started to learn about the atrocities of America. Not just slavery, the overt discrimination, but systematic destruction of our communities. The covert assassination of our political leaders, redlining, housing discrimination, over-incarceration.

Is this the “American Dream” I was promised? The systematic destruction of people who look like me? Yet somehow Black folks are expected to achieve something that was not designed for them.

I decided to join the Black Student Union in my high school in junior year, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Combined with the U.S. history class I was taking at the time, I was able to contribute not just to my community but also to my ideal version of the “American Dream.”

It was during the COVID-19 pandemic, so lockdowns were in full effect. However even through Zoom, I felt an impact on the community. We would do food drives, collect food from students and staff, and donate it to those in need. 

We did not need money to do it. We needed to value ourselves so that we could value our community.

The “American Dream” did not have folks who looked like me in mind. Black Student Union taught me that, my community taught me that, and Black history taught me that. 

Black history taught me that loving myself will lead to me loving my community, and eventually lead me to loving the country. Black history taught me about my “American Dream.”

My “American Dream” does not place money at the bottom of my hierarchy. Money does not equal success. Money is a tool, not a value in itself. We have been confused that having more money justifies injustices against our fellow man.

Black history has taught me to appreciate community, despite what has been done to it, and it will always thrive as long as we continue to talk about its value.

Take a moment to appreciate everything that Black culture has brought to this country. The music, dance, trends, slang, media, art, and love. There's been so much love that Black organizations have given not just to me, but to millions of other Black folks in this country.

This month is to highlight Black folks who have been disadvantaged since they stepped out in this country.

Even after this month Black history won’t stop. Because Black folks have never had the privilege of not fighting.

Every single one will continue to fight, to recognize.

Recognize their “American Dream.”


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