Why is it important to expand the American narrative to include the accomplishments and stories of Black Americans?

It is not just important, but it is necessary to depict the lives and successes of Black Americans in the American narrative because that narrative cannot be complete nor truthful, without it.

The stories of Black Americans are interwoven with the American narrative. To exclude Black stories from the American narrative is like reading a book that has sentences, pages and entire chapters missing from it. Reading a book like this, you will never know what happened or how things came to be. You will never know who accomplished what or who created this. And most importantly, you can never truly appreciate that of which you do not know. If our stories are not told, then our lives and successes can never be fully appreciated by anyone, including ourselves. More than anything, expanding the American narrative to include Black stories shows Black Americans that they are just as intelligent, talented, and capable as anyone else. The achievements of Black Americans are a source of inspiration and hope for anyone who has been marginalized. Telling Black stories can garner well-earned acknowledgement and respect for the achievements of Black Americans but more importantly, telling Black stories in the American narrative shows every Black American that there is greatness, beauty, and power at the core of who they are – and to not let anyone tell them otherwise.

Alexis Russell, MArch 2020, designer at BSA LifeStructures