Each February we celebrate Black History Month. We take time to point out some of the myriad contributions of African Americans throughout our nation’s history. We point to great people like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks.
I do not have a problem with any of that.
The problem that I have with Black History month is that, in my opinion, we don’t hear enough about the great entrepreneurs like Madam C.J. Walker, who’s hair care business made her the world’s first self-made millionairess (Guinnessrecords.com), Robert Gordon, who amassed a fortune in the coal dealing industry, and Maggie L. Walker, the first black woman in the United States to charter a bank.
And when we do talk about them we tend to focus a lot on the fact that these great people made history and fail to highlight HOW they made history. HOW they were brave enough to risk failure in pursuit of an idea, a dream, or a passion. How they overcame poverty, prejudice, and adversity through a combination of education, perseverance, and hard work.
The three entrepreneurs I mention above faced a much higher level of opposition and adversity than exists today. Which has to mean that there is even greater opportunity to achieve great things than previously existed.
We need more entrepreneurs in the Black community. We need more entrepreneurs and self-starters across the board in all communities and those entrepreneurs need a free and open market in which to operate and pursue their dreams and ideas.
The great value of history is that we can learn from it. The great lesson that Black History lays out for us, if we choose to see it, is that it doesn’t matter what color your skin is, with drive, determination, and hard work you can achieve your dreams in America.
That is why, at Brave Enough To Fail, our mission is inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs, leaders, and achievers. Young men and women with the courage to pursue their dreams and persevere in the face of challenges.
Wayne Winsley is the founder and CEO of Brave Enough To Fail Inc. A nonprofit that provides motivational programming, educational resources and scholarships to help students succeed in school and beyond. http://www.BravEnoughToFail.org