By: Eric Moore, Vice President | Brand Strategy
Viewing history in the abstract is a natural human tendency for many. For some, elementary school “history” was about old things that happened back then, that have no bearing on today. However, as we grow and mature, we expand our understanding of history and realize that it is forever connected to our “today.” Again not all, but many people understand this concept. I was once told by an elder in my community that I am the result of the dreams and hopes of my ancestors. I was only a small child when I heard that, but it led me to understand that history (I was also taught Ancient Black History in my home) and those who came before me lived not only for themselves but for me and those who exist today. As such, I have a responsibility to those who came before and those who will come thereafter. This concept helped me to better embrace and understand the value of all history. I also, through my study, realized that the concept the elder shared with me had its origins in ancient African philosophy, which my ancestors brought with them during the middle passage. Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term that means “I am because we are”-in a more philosophical sense, it is a belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects us all. This universal bond transcends time as we understand it, for it reaches far back into the past while stretching infinitely into the future.
As a marketer, this informs every aspect of how I work within the field of communications. It is the pursuit of an authentic connection to that bond (brand) that drives us and guides us-but equally important, it leads us to solutions. Like those ancestors, history in an applicable sense gives us the tools to analyze and explain problems in the past-it positions us to see patterns that might otherwise be invisible in the present.
So as we close out Black History Month, let us think about the value of history. But let us also remember the humanity that connects us all, for it is through that humanity that we may transcend time and allow the invisible to be visible.