Black History Month

EDITOR’S NOTE: To recognize Black History Month, the MDJ asked 20 community leaders how they will celebrate and what BHM means to them. Today we feature south Cobb Commissioner Monique Sheffield.

“What I’d like for people to understand (is) that Black history is American history,” Sheffield said, that it is “a month that we take to recognize African Americans who have made a contribution to this country in a lot of different ways.”

Acknowledging those contributions and getting credit for them is about more than bragging rights, she continued.

“There are a lot of inventions that we have not received credit for that we (enjoy) every day like the (traffic) light, for example — that was invented by a Black man,” she said. “When we don’t share that information, our history gets lost. We don’t get the credit that we deserve, so it seems like we’re not making a contribution to American history, when in fact, we are.”

Ideally, the accomplishments celebrated during Black History Month would be “rolled into the history books all year long, especially for all children,” Sheffield said. “Because history can get lost if those stories are not shared and passed along from generation to generation.”

For her part, Sheffield said her new role as District 4 commissioner — she took office Jan. 1 — and the pandemic have made attending events celebrating Black History Month difficult.

“I have not gone out to celebrate, so I have not gone to any galleries or any gatherings or anything like that,” she said. “Just reading my books and just attending events that are online is the best that I can do and stay safe at the same time.”

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