A Reflection on Black History Month

By Maya Freeman
This piece was originally published on the blog "Blaque Rhetoric."


Black History Month (“/Blak//ˈhist(ə)rē//mənTH/”), also known as African-American History Month is one of the greatest times to celebrate important people of color and events in history of the African diaspora. Not only is Black History Month a time for me to learn more about my culture, it is also a time to expose Black Excellence. Before starting college at Christian Brothers University, I had never heard the term “Black Excellence.” To me, it was just two simple words. Over time, what used to be two simple words began to encompass my whole being in life.

Being black is hard. It’s more than just getting mistreated, receiving unfair and unjust punishment – and it’s definitely more than just “funny” stereotypes.

Being black is:

  • Waiting until Presidency number 44 to step foot in the White House (219 years)
  • Getting harassed and accused while shopping
  • Only being on the cover of Ebony Magazines
  • Not receiving equivalent amounts African-American History classes as the typical “White American “counterparts
  • Having to style my hair a certain way for job interviews and to be accepted in Corporate America
  • Getting called the “Boy Scouts of America” for having a t-shirt that says BSA (Black Student Association)
  • Not seeing more than 1 Woman that resembles me in Miss America Pageants
  • Not seeing more of a Black Male presence in the classroom or Corporate America

This is what being black feels like – daily.

Excellence /ˈeks(ə)ləns/ noun
“ the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.”
Photo: Source

Overall, I believe Black Excellence is something that thrives despite the endless amount of oppression surrounding my people. As history shows, regardless of how much we sustain, we are still progressing-hence the root “excel” in excellence. Excellence, is something that is ongoing; it doesn’t stop just because a trial or tribulation presents itself. As I continue to live a life promoting Black Excellence, I will continue to motivate those surrounding me to know and understand where they come from. I want them to know how resilient our ancestors were, and how important it is to continue to live a life that would not have put their sacrifices in vain. Going forward, we should hold each other accountable for educating oneself, the people in our communities, and our offspring.

Maya Freeman

Black Excellence is highlighting the major accomplishments within the Black culture. It is seeing the positive things that we bring to this already Great America. Black Excellence is exposing those who were less fortunate to simple things in life. It is teaching our youth that crime and violence is not all that we as a Black Family are known for.

Terri Conley

Black Excellence matters to me because I’m able to pay homepage and commemorate those who came before me. Growing up, I didn’t see too many successful people who looked like me and in the classroom, I never heard of all the great things black people were able to accomplish.


Maya Freeman is a junior at Christian Brothers University, and President of CBU’s Black Student Association (BSA).


Posted by Editorial Board at 2:26 PM

The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.

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