The Importance of My Son Knowing His African Culture

Liberian Mommy And Me

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Afrikrea Mommy And Me

Growing up, the only thing I really knew about my family’s history was that my paternal grandmother’s family came from South Carolina. And though the stories of them growing up in the South were entertaining, informative, and a little scary at times, it still left me with this feeling that I wish I knew more about my lineage. When I talk to my husband about wanting to know my heritage but not being able to, he understands where I am coming from but cannot fully relate. My husband is a first-generation Liberian American and knows exactly where his family is from. And this gives me great happiness because my son will be able to know where his family has come from as a second-generation and will be able to celebrate and connect to his roots throughout his entire life.

I remember when I was younger and we would have heritage month where students would be able to present on their culture and bring in foods and share their family stories. Fellow classmates of mine would have these elaborate tri-folds and some of them would bring in their parents or grandparents who would share stories and let us know more about their family history. What lacked during these presentations was any background on the African culture.

Yes, black history is taught in schools as a small part of the curriculum, but that’s not the only aspect of our culture. We learn about European history in grade school and hear about how Europe grew and how colonization happened, but I felt like I would have loved to have a world history class where we were able to learn about other cultures including the African culture.

I hope that my son gets the opportunity to learn about various cultures around the world. But I find solace in the fact that when he is in grade school and they have something like heritage month, he’ll have the opportunity to educate his classmates on his roots. He’ll get to explain his culture and where his family is from and the celebrations that he goes to including the ones for him. He will get to share about how his Liberian family is so unique and special to him and the importance of him being a second-generation Liberian American.

“When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves…sometimes even physically.”

Raquel Cepeda

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