We forge deeper into a new year, new presidency, new world. The morning paper delivers mixed messages of hope and dread, and it’s safe to say we’d be glad never to hear the words “grim” and “milestone” side-by-side ever again. How and where might we find beauty in this state of prolonged solitude and anxiety, separated from family, friends, colleagues, and habits?
February is Black History Month, and the outstanding Americans we celebrate in this period shed light on the ways in which people of color have carved out their own space for creativity, brilliance, and joy against all odds from the cold marble of our nation’s history. As James Baldwin once said, “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” That “beautiful” is tucked into that striking statement says something profound about the tenacity of the Black American spirit, a tenacity echoed in the song of Maya Angelou’s caged bird (“a fearful trill / of things unknown / but longed for still”), or in Barack Obama’s resounding “Yes We Can.” It’s a tenacity that can and should inspire every American on the road ahead.
In this month’s Miscellaneous, our no-frills round-up of the cultural items that inspire the Athletics team each month, we mix in some ways to engage with Black History Month from wherever February finds you.
Stay tuned for more editions of Miscellaneous in the coming months.
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“The sky, lazily disdaining to pursue
The setting sun, too indolent to hold
A lengthened tournament for flashing gold,
Passively darkens for night’s barbecue,
A feast of moon and men and barking hounds,
An orgy for some genius of the South
With blood-hot eyes and cane-lipped scented mouth,
Surprised in making folk-songs from soul sounds.”
From “Georgia Dusk” by Jean Toomer (1923)
“The Park Bench” (detail) by Horace Pippin (1946)