“We are going back to that beautiful history and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements,” said Carter G. Woodson, creator of Negro Achievement Week.
On Saturday, Feb. 22, in celebration of Black History Month, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) collaborated with Instagram to co-host an InstaMeet.
Each site on the InstaMeet tour had a significant relevance to African-American culture in Washington, D.C. When capturing Instagram photos, I wanted to keep in mind my personal experiences and how I would want them to be portrayed through my photography. The perfect picture needed to be worth a thousand words.
On the corner of Ben Ali Way and U Street stands the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl. The Ben’s Chili Bowl historian shared the restaurant’s 55-year triumphant history. I photographed the restaurant’s decorations, including a Bill Cosby portrait as well as mural of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.Similar to the strong sense of family and community promoted by Ben’s Chili Bowl, the African American Civil War Memorial connects United States Color Troops (USCT) and their descendants through the African American Civil War Freedom Foundation Registry. The registry allows family members to submit 19th-century memorabilia commemorating and preserving USCT history.
Essentially, I needed to understand my past to prepare for the present and future. It is important that African-Americans share with future generations our historical struggle toward freedom, equality and justice.
The Foundation’s InstaMeet taught me things are deeper than they appear on the surface. Previously, I visited NBBC numerous times last fall. The congregation was welcoming, and the music was amazing. I can now say the history of the church’s origin is impressive. Through CBCF’s InstaMeet, I learned NBBC was the planning venue for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
My fellow interns enjoyed the InstaMeet as well. “Leaving out from this event, it really makes me want to get more involved in the Black community” said Spring 2014 CBCF intern Sean Ruff.
Ruff’s reaction is the goal CBCF hoped to accomplish with the Black History Month InstaMeet tour.
As Black History Month closes, it is important that we continue to recognize the richness of African-American history throughout the remainder of the year.
“As a result of the [internship] program, I want CBCF interns to become agents of change by utilizing their experiences and the resources to eliminate disparities and improve the socioeconomic circumstances of those in African-American communities,” said CBCF Internships and Fellowships Program Coordinator Rontel Batie.
To view pictures from the InstaMeet tour, search the hashtag #CBCFInstaMeet on Instagram and Twitter. Also visit our online album at http://galleries.cbcfinc.org/p260326952.
The interns are part of CBCF’s Leadership Institute for Public Service program, which prepares the next generation to take its place in community service and policy development arenas. Participants learn the inner workings of Congress, explore public service and public policy careers and learn leadership skills.