by Sara Chinakwe • September 12, 2023
In elementary school, the only thing I learned about Black history was condensed into a chapter of our history book which highlighted the enslavement of my ancestors. I didn’t know how to verbalize my feelings when it came to learning about slavery, but I knew I felt…shame, sadness, misunderstood, and singled out. I felt there was an invisible spotlight on me that echoed the words “not enough.”
I, like so many African Americans, don’t know our origin story. Our last names, for instance, were given to us at the hands of our masters. This along with many other factors caused generations of people to become dissociated with their own history.
For so long in elementary education the Black history unit was only taught on the perspective slavery. Even in my own experience, there was no follow up of great Black inventors, or any of the contributions that our ancestors made to American history. Sadly, many of our stories have been silenced or all together robbed of credit.
My hope is that people continue to come forward to do the work to restore what was lost, to allow the truth about our ancestors to prevail.
As God led me to discover my history, He sparked the idea for my first children’s book, You Come From Greatness. It started off as a vision in my head, a way to help children and families who, like me, either didn’t know their origin story or had a skewed version of their family history. As I delved deeper into my own history for a concrete origin story, I came up short. My research led me to realize there are great men and women who have paved the way for me to be here today. Then, my search for identity finally landed on the one who made us all, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
You Come From Greatness details some of the great men and women in history who paved the way for you and I to be here today. The vibrant illustrations, rhythmic and poetic prose, and extraordinary history on each page celebrates great Africans and African Americans, revealing Black history that has often been intentionally hidden and highlights the glorious diversity of our beautiful culture. Children, families, teachers, all readers will be delighted and transformed by this introduction to witness the God-designed greatness of Black culture and history, which reaffirms how God sees all of His beloved children.
You Come From Greatness introduces famous and not so well-known Black historical figures, such as Wangari Muta Maathai, Ellie Mannette, Rebecca Lee Crumpler. All of the people highlighted in the book, along with the twenty short biographies at the end of the book, offer readers a great place to start discovering the many more Black people who impacted world history in positive ways.
Today we have avenues such as this book and many others to teach about the great accomplishments that our ancestors have made. My truth is only one story in the multitude of stories that our great world has to offer. I encourage you to find out more about your origin story and others so you can own your truth.
Sara Chinakwe is a wife, mother, teacher, and children’s ministry leader. She encourages women and children to pursue God’s purpose and embrace their God-given identity. Sara’s deep love of teaching and decades-long career in education was shaped at California State University Stanislaus. Since then, she has used writing as a medium to propel God’s followers forward as they journey with Him. You can find Christian resources for mothers and children at www.sarachinakwe.com.