Strengthening the Impact: A Journey In the Struggling Present of Black America, Part 3

 By: Markayle Tolliver
collage of black historical figures in the palm of someones hand with American flag ‘celebrate black history month 2023

“The Present Pain of Blacks”

In the first publication for this year’s Black History Month campaign, we learned that this month was founded back in the early 1900s by Carter G. Woodson; however the African-American community is presently still struggling with rights as citizens, the acknowledgment of their successes and achievements, and many other systemic issues. These systemic injustices are holding the Black community back from successful elevation.

Presently, the African-American community faces hardships in many areas of life; and we will look at the struggles of Blacks politically, professionally/educationally, and financially. Due to these pains that the Black community presently endure, it is important that Black History Month is celebrated and that we continue to push for the continued need for this month.

“The Political Gap”

kamala harris in purple jacket raising hand to be sworn in other people with mask stand around her
Kamala Harris being sworn into office.

According to Pew Research in 1965, there were no Black governors or senators and only 5 members of the House of Representatives. Many African-Americans have studied and preserved through schooling to study and learn politics and government but have not had the opportunity to serve in that capacity. As of 2021, there has been a slight increase in representation in some areas of politics but not all – there are 57 House members that are Black and 3 senators but there are still no Black governors until this past 2022 election when Maryland elected Wes Moore.

“Blacks in Corporate America”

In corporate America, according to AfroTech, in 2022, Fortune 500 companies hit a record of Black leaders with a total of six companies being led by African-Americans:

  • Roz Brewer, Walgreens
  • David Rawlinson, Qurate Retail Inc.
  • Robert Reffkin, Compass
  • Frank Clyburn, IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances)
  • Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s
  • Thasunda Brown Duckett, TIAA

In Q1 of 2023, this is a great achievement, however there should definitely be more than 6 Blacks leading companies due to the experience, passion and knowledge of Blacks. There are many African-Americans who have endured pain in their careers where they have been pushed out of positions/companies, certain ideas weren’t taken seriously, and/or weren’t accepted for their identity or just judged because of their race. Blacks have been resistant and still maintained professionalism and courage and fought against injustices.


three black ceos
Roz Brewer, Marvin Ellison, and David Rawlinson, Courtesy of AfroTech

“Blacks Home Ownership”

The Federal Reserve System conducted research where they found that Black families’ median and mean wealth is 15% less of White families. Blacks have had years of financial hardships and the lack of resources and help. Many Blacks have businesses, talents, and even skills that are business models and could become business owners. However, due to not having the adequate financial assistance and also the knowledge of finances, we have continued to struggle. However, as the African-American population continues to learn and grow, we have expanded our financial means to begin to grow financially but we still endure hurdles. For example, a study showed that in 2019, Black home ownership decreased to 40.6% from 49.7% the previous year due to gentrification. As housing issues continue to hunt Blacks, we are continuously learning and growing to gain more knowledge and more ownership of housing.

5 black billionaires


“The Impact of Black History”

African-Americans have a painful yet rich history and present that causes recognition and support. Therefore, this month should be celebrated because:

  • It celebrates diversity
  • It unites us
  • It takes us beyond history and the past; and
  • It helps us understand the importance and impact of these stories and achievements.

Black History Month is not just for promotion and bringing awareness, (which is good) but it also to celebrate the fact of diversity. Blacks have a diverse culture that is welcoming and very informative. A celebration is a public honoring of these Black men and women who have done incredible work.

Black History unites not just the Black community but other backgrounds and cultures. It helps us to learn not just other groups but it also gives us the opportunity to learn about the diversity within the Black community from passions, to experiences, to talents.

This month allows us to retreat from the history books of slavery and look at the present and future accomplishments also of Black success. Finally, this month should be celebrated because it allows us to see and understand the full significance of these achievements and how they have impacted the world and the Black population.

black history month


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