Antiques of the Future, Tomorrow’s History Is Today by Samuel Korvie

Each Saturday growing up, Goodnight Scholar Samuel Korvie T’23 would routinely tune into TV Africa at noon to watch his favorite anime series. But, on one particularly memorable Saturday afternoon, the usual timeslot of anime was replaced with a documentary about Black History Month. Samuel watched the documentary with his grandmother and asked her many questions of why and how evil persisted in the world. Samuel’s grandmother responded by telling Samuel “how painful past experiences can be, and highlighted the importance of using our today to create a new, positive history for the future.” Read the latest Goodnight Scholars Blog to read how Samuel thinks this message is as relevant as ever, and how we can all do our part to celebrate and recognize Black History Month.

Each beautiful sunny Saturday morning filled the atmosphere with sweet fragrances of freedom for young Sam. Like every typical Ghanaian home, Saturdays meant house chores for grown-ups. Contrarily, it presented opportunities for my siblings and me to freely watch educational television shows in the morning, plus any amount of preferred anime for the rest of the day. Comparable with most parents, my dad has always been the biggest fan of education. Due to the obstacles he experienced as a child, my dad ensured we all had the best education possible. Some of the positive cons of his zealousness included strict rules such as regulated TV time, reading three newspapers every school morning, and an expected number of books read monthly. Such, coupled with busy school days, made me appreciate Saturdays so much. Nonetheless, this Saturday went on to be one of my most memorable ones; my grandmother introduced me to a new dimension of life I would forever cherish.

Routinely, I tuned into TV Africa at noon to watch my favorite anime, “The Adventures of Tintin.” However, I was very disappointed to see them broadcasting a boring documentary. Grandma Caroline, seeing how my sudden frustration had stolen the glee with which I jumped into the sofa, stepped in to save the day as every sweet granny does! If you can relate, I bet you would never trade nourishing story time for any animation in the world. What is history without a story? Nothing right? Unknowingly to me, this boring documentary was apparently about Black History Month. It provided the gateway through which grandma introduced me to some rich knowledge about pre-colonial times, African culture, the transatlantic slave trade, and the post-colonial era. Connecting some of the narratives with the scenes from the documentary was very disturbing for my little mind. In essence, I asked Grandma Caroline, “if Europeans did all this evil, why then do we celebrate them and allow them into our country again? Can our brothers and sisters, princes and princesses, just come back home?” Although I could not fully comprehend the events, I remember her response. She accentuated that: Ghana has a culture of forgiveness and hospitality. As a people, we cannot dwell too much on the pain we experienced yesterday, else we would not enjoy the freedom we have today. Grandma Caroline also emphasized how painful past experiences can be and highlighted the importance of using our today to create a new, positive history for the future.

Reminiscing his transformative trip to Ghana, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared in his sermon entitled: ‘The Birth of a New Nation’, the importance of contributing to the history we would love to have been. He posited: “If there had not been a Gandhi in India with all of his noble followers, India would have never been free. If there had not been a Nkrumah … Ghana would still be a British colony. If there had not been abolitionists in America, both Negro and white, we might still stand today in the dungeons of slavery. And then because there have been, in every period, there are always those people in every period of human history who don’t mind getting their necks cut off, who don’t mind being persecuted and discriminated and kicked about, because they know that freedom is never given out, but it comes through the persistent and the continual agitation and revolt on the part of those who are caught in the system. Ghana teaches us that.”

While I would have loved to share multiple details of Grandma Caroline’s account, I believe the message from her and Dr. King is more relevant. As we all celebrate Black History Month, we should contribute in whatever positive way to tomorrow’s history. While we all celebrate yet battle some of the injustices in the world, we can only be fruitful if we let love lead. Paraphrasing Maya Angelou, whatever we want to contribute to history, if we want it to be significant and bear good tidings, we must be willing to love it and make sacrifices for it. 

-The Afropolitan, Samuel Korvie