February is Black History Month and The University of The Virgin Islands is celebrating it by placing photographs of only black people in its library mural. This is Black History Month, not black only month.
I confronted the library staff about the exclusion of white abolitionists and those who martyred themselves for the freedom of black people. I was told that although they may be part of black history, they are not black. This is the antithesis of what Martin Luther King espoused: “a person will be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
The library staff is doing themselves a disservice by excluding white abolitionist revolutionaries. They are not stopping to think and say, “Wait a minute, if it wasn’t for those select but significant whites, we would never be free.” I take personal offense to this as my great, great grand uncle died in The Battle of Gettysburg fighting the south. His blood runs in my veins. We even have a letter he wrote from the battlefield; he said that the carnage was horrifying but necessary.
What the library is doing is discriminatory and enabling racism. It excludes white heroes from black history who were catalysts for where black people are today. It is unethical, illegal and The UVI library is federally funded. This will be addressed through national and U.S. government agencies if not changed immediately. We can start with a photo of John Brown accompanied by a blurb of what he did and that he was eventually hanged for treason because he attempted to militarily free the slaves of North Carolina. His raid on Harper’s Ferry was a shot heard around the country and The Civil War ensued only 13 years after his martyrdom.