From the “Yeehaw Agenda” to Generational Wealth—Black Legacy is Our Heirloom to Preserve

There’s a silly concept about Black Americans having no “real” history. Whether typed by trolls on social media, spewed in backhanded debates in public school classrooms or deliberated over in Supreme Court proceedings, this notion has long plagued our community’s perception of ourselves.

Our cover showcases the banjo, originally made from the memories of handmade string instruments of formerly enslaved Africans. The banjo was created as a blend of both West African and European cultures. Its history is weaved and rooted in the sounds of generations and has become a part of the backbone of American music.

African American Actors in MGM’s 1934 short film My Old Kentucky Home. Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/De Carvalho Collection/Getty Images.
Printed sheet music for ‘Seek No Further March’ by African-American musician Horace Weston, seen illustrated with his five-string banjo. Image: Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images.
Musician Rhiannon Giddens, who played banjo on Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Image: Judith Burrows/Getty Images.

As a result, generations of Black descendants of American slavery have wallowed in shame—shown publicly or in silence— about the severed connection we have to our sense of place and belonging, whether in our homeland or this stolen land. The truth in our reality, however, is quite clear:

We do have a history and it is ours to preserve.

Black culture, history and legacy is the ultimate heirloom—both tangible and metaphorical— we can bestow upon our future generations.

In the May 2024 Digital Cover Experience, you will see a range of threads that weave together the fabric of Black American legacy to ensure that we don’t “lose recipes” over time. From communities that keep their traditions and respective sectors of heritage thriving to historic artistic mediums to Black-led organizations who correct and revitalize the tales of the original cowboy, Black culture is alive and thriving.

What will you leave behind?

This month, we encourage you to sit down with your elders or the young people in your life and start conversations to find this out.


Updated: May 13, 2024 — 12:02 pm