Black Iowa lawmaker slams Black History Month tributes at the state Capitol by those seeking 'to block Black History being taught'

Black Iowans discuss the importance of teaching Black History, voting rights and more during Black History Month.

Celebrating Black History Month: Black Iowa News invited Black Iowans to share their feelings about the importance of teaching Black history, voting rights and more — in their own words. Here's the next installment from State Rep. Ras Smith (D-Waterloo). Smith recently ended his run for governor, and he announced Saturday he won't seek reelection to his seat in the Iowa House of Representatives.

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Check tomorrow for the next installment. Have a point of view to share for Black History Month? Learn more below.

Black History Month and Me

RasTafari I. Smith

State Rep. Ras Smith (D-Waterloo). Photo courtesy of the RasforIowa Facebook page.

As I get older Black History Month tends to get a little more complex. It’s never been a struggle for me to acknowledge with gratefulness the contributions of Black pioneers and leaders past and present.

The complicated part for me has been learning to deal with the nausea caused by the annual social media onslaught of MLK quotes and “Black History Month Every Month” posts, followed by 11 months of inaction to address inequity by those very same people.

I’ve never questioned the significance of the Black bodies tattered and torn in the pursuit of representation, never faltered in how much Black Lives Matter in the quest for true freedom.

It’s been the enduring of the yearly two-minute Black History Month tributes under the Golden Dome by those that simultaneously seek to block Black History being taught from the Black perspective.

And so, as I reflect on what Black History Month means to me, it's the celebration of us owning the telling of our story and what it's taken for us to get here. It's the weight of understanding the gravity of the work that is to come and finding the beauty in that struggle.

Read: Black History Month reflections by Black Iowans

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Share your opinion with Black Iowa News

To celebrate Black History Month, Black Iowa News will publish short original quotes from Black Iowans on the topics of Black history and voting rights. Email your quote, city, short bio and photo to Dana James, founder of Black Iowa News: dana@blackiowanews.com.

Banner: Black History Month art by Christopher Harrison, of Harrison Art Studio.

Learn about Carter G. Woodson and the origins of Black History Month.

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