Black History Month has been celebrated since 1970, and around that time is when James Christopher moved to the Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood on Tucsons southside. When he moved to the area, he saw the inequalities Black people faced living in the area. His work now is to make sure those times are never forgotten.
Christopher is an avid historian and an active member in the Tucson community, sharing his perspective on many boards of local organizations. He recently became Vice President of the Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood Association, but he was the president many years before. His collection of experience has helped build his personal collection of significant items reflecting Black history.
My theme is looking blackward, he said. From the Buffalo Soldiers to Aunt Jemima, he relayed every detail about the pieces of the past during his visit with KGUN9. In addition to his passion for history, he enjoys poetry and a good play on words.
She took a stand by sitting, and she was arrested, said Christopher while reading off scrabble tiles he arranged on top of a statue of Rosa Parks.
He said he spends a lot of time presenting to the youth of Tucson. You have to know where you came from to know where youre going. My thing is kids. Theyre our hope. Theyre our motivators as we go into our future.
He always asks the students he speaks with to write letters to him about what they learned. One day, he was looking through a stack of letters when one caught his attention. The letter read:
<i>Dear Mr. James, I learned a lot of things yesterday even though I dont really like black people cause some of them killed my cousin a few months ago, but you showed me that all black people arent the same.</i>
When asked what that meant to him, he said it made him emotional because he felt like he did some good.
After showcasing the history throughout his Pueblo Gardens home, he sat down with KGUN9 to share what he wants people to know during Black History Month. His hope is that others find the value in knowing their past like he does.
Know your history so you dont repeat it negatively. I know some of its ugly, its not pretty. But nevertheless, its still history, he said.