February is one of my favorite months and by March 1, I’m out of breath from all the activities and celebrations. From the Super Bowl to Black History, Valentine’s Day, Leap Day, Presidents Day, there’s something to keep us busy every day.

February is a wonderful time to know and bless our sweet hearts. Because so much of what we can do depends on our heart and how it functions, today is a perfect day to sit quietly, take a few deep breaths and hear perhaps the most beautiful sound on earth—your own breathing.

As you listen, pledge to take better care of your heart. Vow to exercise more, eat better, drink less sugary and alcoholic stuff, take your medications only as prescribed, keep your blood pressure in check, and get more sleep and rest –no, they’re not the same thing. If you’re already doing all these things, celebrate, wear red, give yourself a pat on the back, and keep up the good work.

This year make Black History Month a part of your quest to know.  Almost every year someone asks why do we have to celebrate Black History Month? You don’t have to, but here’s hoping you will want to because you want to be well rounded and informed.  Here’s what I know: history is not always complete or accurate because the somebody who writes it gets to decide what’s included by what they understood to be interesting and important.

In many instances, facts can/may/will be distorted by language, perspective, and cultural biases. I’m not saying all historians got every detail wrong, I’m simply saying there’s enough we don’t know to make a whole brand-new world, according to my great grandmother.  This month we can be in the know and remedy some of that.

Roger and I, in our quest to do all 50 states, visited the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming and stopped at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. General George Armstrong Custer’s last stand there is written about in every history book I’ve come across—Custer and his men were massacred by the Indians, so the story goes. When the story was told from the perspective of the Native Americans, the events sounded very different. The perspectives on who won or got “whupped” depends on whose side’s telling the story.

So it is with Black History Month. Oftentimes all we hear about is the big four: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, slavery, and a line or two about the Civil Rights Movement. Rarely is there anything comprehensive written about the Middle Passage, the journey most slaves took to get to the Americas, stacked spoon-style in the bottom of slave ships, the harsh realities of this journey, slavery, and family separations. The full spectrum, to include African American cowboys, inventors, activists, authors, and musicians—the big picture of African American life, is seldom available or shared.

Learn about Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the school bearing her name in Daytona Beach, Fl. Her historic friendship and work with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is one for the history books for sure.  Ida Wells Barnett’s anti-lynching campaigns kept her on the run but never conquered. Bayard Rustin’s brilliant strategizing made the 1963 March on Washington successful. We should recognize and celebrate local and state heroes, too. This year make it your business to learn and share at least four new historical facts about your race and another race or culture. Do it so you’ll know. Do it so you can be in the know.

Do not forget to share the historical facts that you come across at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook!

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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