The personal:

The historic (I had to look up Bass Reeves and suggest you do, too):

The simply awesome lives of women:

And one of my favorite—the Japanese zoot suiters:

#HistoricPOC, which Kendall says will continue throughout the month of February, gives black people and other people of color that simple thing that is all too often missing from their lives—humanity. It’s an undeniable humanity, that exposes them as real people instead of a one-note formulaic character. So far, there’s no prototype, there’s no one type of person or group, which hopefully will sink into the minds of others—that people of color are multidimensional with multiple experiences and emotions.

While not a comprehensive study on people of color, hashtags like this are refreshing and relevant. They’re an aesthetically pleasing introduction to a history of communities that have struggled to have their stories seen as a valuable part of American history, not just in pop culture but academia; it was only a few years ago that conservatives tried to rename slavery the “Atlantic triangular trade” in Texas’ textbooks.

Importantly, the hashtag gives power to people to tell their own stories (something “black twitter” is known for) and to create a record of their own histories. To the rest of the world, it’s a reminder of just how much of the history of folks of color is buried, locked away behind closed doors and in households who were never even asked to share their stories. “I hope people from all walks of life contribute. Lots of hidden history out there in people’s attics and albums,” Kendall says.

Image for article titled A crowdsourced project of beautiful, historic images of people of color
Image: Courtesy of Reniqua Allen

Her project certainly made me think about my past. So here’s a picture of my grandfather, George Allen (on the right), with the singer Ella Fitzgerald and another unknown man. I don’t know the place or the story behind it, but I know they existed. He was a proud Navy man, with a family he loved. He wasn’t in shackles or a civil rights superstar, but worked hard to feed his family and improve his community. And he wasn’t invisible. Now, the whole world can see that his life mattered, too.

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