Tag Archives: Black History Today

Black History Today: Di’Andre Campbell, Using His Gifts in True Service

by Marcus Harden

Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today, created by Marcus Harden in celebration of Black History Month, pays tribute to the living legacy of Black history in our community and beyond and recognizes the people shaping the future.

Presented in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.


“Stop thinking about the damn wall! There is no wall. There are only bricks. Your job is to lay this brick perfectly. Then move on to the next brick. Then lay that brick perfectly. Then the next one. Don’t be worrying about no wall. Your only concern is the one brick.”

—Will Smith

I watch a lot of HGTV for a person who can barely (and I mean barely) put together a small table from IKEA. I’m fascinated by those who can walk into a space and bring their vision to life — building, renovating, and creating a place for people to truly call home.

An old parable tells us that our body is a temple, and through the art of training and teaching, Di’Andre Campbell is not only a master builder but also a skilled renovator of the human condition.

Continue reading Black History Today: Di’Andre Campbell, Using His Gifts in True Service

Black History Today: Leslie Lawson-Sims, an Unsung Hero Filling Her Community With Light

by Marcus Harden

Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today, created by Marcus Harden in celebration of Black History Month, pays tribute to the living legacy of Black history in our community and beyond and recognizes the people shaping the future.

Presented in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.


“As Black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences — experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point.”

—Viola Davis

Here’s to the unsung heroes, the ones who never desire the spotlight, because the work they do comes from something deep inside of them. The ones who you interact with every day — at the coffee shop, at the bodega, and in the office space. Yet for the ones who’ve carved out space where they typically aren’t seen — the “Hidden Figures,” the ones quietly demanding equity and inclusion with their every action — those heroes who don’t seek the light, ironically, become the light.

Continue reading Black History Today: Leslie Lawson-Sims, an Unsung Hero Filling Her Community With Light

Black History Today: Omari Salisbury, Uplifting and Empowering His Community by Sharing the Truth at Any Cost

by Marcus Harrison Green

Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today, created by Marcus Harden in celebration of Black History Month, pays tribute to the living legacy of Black history in our community and beyond and recognizes the people shaping the future.

Presented in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.


“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

—Jesse Owens

What best reveals someone’s true character is the moment their life is ambushed by a heap of public awareness. In this moment, all of their work, exploits, and ambitions — once largely unknown to larger pop culture — become unhidden. With this fresh (and in some cases renewed) notoriety, discarding your community, your friends, your promises that initially set you up for recognition is an enticing option. One chosen so often that the tale of someone reaching the pinnacle of their profession only to leave us mere mortals behind as they fly “too close to the sun” before their inevitable crash landing is a well-recited cliché.

Less evoked are the stories of those who skyrocket and grab hold of their community to take them along on their journey.

I think of this every time I reflect on Omari Salisbury. 

Continue reading Black History Today: Omari Salisbury, Uplifting and Empowering His Community by Sharing the Truth at Any Cost

Black History Today: Dr. Kristina Bellamy, Actualizing Her Dreams in Service of Others

by Marcus Harden

Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today, created by Marcus Harden in celebration of Black History Month, pays tribute to the living legacy of Black history in our community and beyond and recognizes the people shaping the future.

Presented in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.


“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”

—Shonda Rhimes

Only those who are brave enough to chase their dreams are bold enough to catch them. The act of turning a dream into a plan, a plan into an action, and that action into an accomplishment is what truly defines “success.” The person that does that over and over again, across various disciplines, is more than just a dreamer — they are an agent of change and proof of possibility.

Continue reading Black History Today: Dr. Kristina Bellamy, Actualizing Her Dreams in Service of Others

Black History Today: Dr. Thelma Jackson, Planting and Nurturing the Seeds of Change

by Marcus Harden

Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today, created by Marcus Harden in celebration of Black History Month, pays tribute to the living legacy of Black history in our community and beyond and recognizes the people shaping the future.

Presented in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.


“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

—Toni Morrison

Black History is rooted deeply in the traditions of the African Diaspora, and those roots branch into so much of our collective resilience, creativity, and strength. The nourishment to those roots flows through the honoring and respecting of children and elders, those who offer hope for a new day, and those who’ve tilled the soil to make the day possible.

Continue reading Black History Today: Dr. Thelma Jackson, Planting and Nurturing the Seeds of Change

Black History Today: Eddie Francis, Humbly Chasing His Dreams to New Heights

by Marcus Harden

Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today, created by Marcus Harden in celebration of Black History Month, pays tribute to the living legacy of Black history in our community and beyond and recognizes the people shaping the future.

Presented in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.


“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”

—Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Many of today’s most successful people opine about hard work, grinding, or as the kids say nowadays, “getting it out da mud!”

Some of the most successful of all will tell you that they are humble at their heights because they know what it means to truly climb the ladder — that the years of hard work and faith have helped them to more fully know themselves.

Continue reading Black History Today: Eddie Francis, Humbly Chasing His Dreams to New Heights

Black History Today: In Community, the Power of ‘I AM’ Becomes ‘WE ARE’

by Marcus Harden

Image depicting white text on a black background that reads "Black History Today." The word today is accented with a red and green line.

Black History Today, created by Marcus Harden in celebration of Black History Month, pays tribute to the living legacy of Black history in our community and beyond and recognizes the people shaping the future.

Presented in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.


The power of “I AM” is indeed amazing. I often wonder why that isn’t one of the first principles we teach, as knowledge of self is probably the greatest and longest lesson we will ever embark upon. One of my greatest joys is surprising people each year, penning the Black History Today series and continuing to recognize everyday heroes and historymakers who shape our communities.

Continue reading Black History Today: In Community, the Power of ‘I AM’ Becomes ‘WE ARE’

Black History Today: Roxanne Christian-Dancer — a Brilliant Reminder of What’s Possible

by Marcus Harden


(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.)

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘Jump at de sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” — Zora Neale Hurston (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942) 

I’ve heard it said that we aren’t humans on a spiritual journey, but we are spirits having a human experience. In life you encounter people who seem like they’ve “been here before” because of their vast knowledge and understanding of the world — who are well traveled in the physical, mental and spiritual spaces.

Roxanne Christian-Dancer is one of those people who has been here before. Born in Columbus, Georgia, and raised by her angelic and equally ambitious mother, Ms. Rolaina, who embedded the spirit of discovery in her, Roxanne is truly a renaissance woman. Her latter formative years were spent in Seattle, where she graduated from Ingraham High School and later the University of Washington.

Continue reading Black History Today: Roxanne Christian-Dancer — a Brilliant Reminder of What’s Possible

Black History Today: Gary Ladd II — Lifting a Powerful Legacy to New Heights

by Marcus Harden


(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise Up for Students.)

“Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe. How committed are you to winning? How committed are you to being a good friend? To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model? There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are you committed, or are you not?”

— LeBron James

Legacy is typically defined in the human construct as being what we leave behind for those who come after us — and what we inherit from the ones who came before us. It can be a gift but also, at times, a heavy load to bear.

For some, carrying on a legacy happens in name only. For others, it happens through our life’s purpose. For a few, like Gary Ladd II, it happens in both, and they find their legacy intertwined like links on a chain with the generations on either side of them.

Continue reading Black History Today: Gary Ladd II — Lifting a Powerful Legacy to New Heights

Black History Today: Trent and Ericka Pollard, Leading With Love

by Marcus Harden

(Black History Today is published in collaboration with Rise up for Students.)


“Like sweet morning dew

I took one look at you

And it was plain to see

You were my destiny

With you I’ll spend my time

I’ll dedicate my life

I’ll sacrifice for you

Dedicate my life for you”

— From the song “All I Need,” by Mary J. Blige and Method Man

I love “love.” I don’t know how else to say it. I truly believe that love is where “God” resides, in the spiritual realm and inside of all of us.

Healthy love, positive love — love that is dedicated to a purpose, a profession or a person — to me is truly the greatest love of all.

Continue reading Black History Today: Trent and Ericka Pollard, Leading With Love