In honor of Black History Month, Big Easy Magazine has compiled these quotes from historical and contemporary black leaders for our readers to consider. Many address issues that are still relevant to today’s world, particularly in New Orleans.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Many people within the city are unhappy with the state of education in New Orleans. Simply look over the videos of the last several Orleans Parish School Board meetings, and that is plain to see. Members of the NAACP have spoken several times regarding the problems of the city’s all-charter school system and it’s issues of being largely segregated by both race and economic status.
“Black History Month is in the shortest month of the year, and the coldest – just in case we want to have a parade.” – Chris Rock
When it comes to parades celebrating black history, New Orleans truly shines. Our Mardi Gras traditions are based firmly in black history, with our parade krewes and social clubs. Every Krewe has a story, and many of them are deeply rooted in New Orleans’ unique cultural history.
“Don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength, and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!” – Ruby Bridges
We would be remiss if we didn’t include a quote from Ruby Bridges in this article; after all, she pioneered the desegregation of schools right here in New Orleans. The qualities she expresses here – courage, strength, and conviction – are ones that we see in the citizens of this city every day.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde
New Orleanians are both strong and powerful. When we put our minds to it, we can do anything. Just look at our recovery following Katrina. Or, more recently, look at the Boycott Bowl. By banding together, the city was able to raise more than $57,000 for NORD, as well as completely tank the viewing numbers of the Super Bowl. What else could the citizens of this city accomplish if they mobilized for causes they believe in?
Which brings us to our final quote:
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” -Barack Obama
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.