The path to discovering oneself is not easy, but one that is very important to every person who hopes to lead a life or purpose. Developing the mind is a key component of self-discovery as it helps an individual know his capabilities and the surrounding better. In many cases people wonder what their purpose in life is and how they can make decisions that will shape the kind of life which fulfils this purpose. It is against this background that I will briefly try to present my story with regard to my intellectual development. Precisely, I will attempt to show who I am and the factors that shape this sense of identity. As a matter of fact, it is my belief that a basic knowledge and understanding of events of historic importance is of absolute necessity. This would explain my interest in Black World Studies. I find such an area to be full of content that causes one to reconsider his or her view of the world that we live in. It forces one to question racial stereotypes and commonly held beliefs about a group of people.
There are many people who have directly influenced my mental development as a result of interactions or increased study of materials concerning them. One of these people is Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Born in 1929 to a pastor and a school teacher in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr King grew to be one of the most respected civil rights leaders in the United States of America (History.com). He fought for equality between white Americans and African Americans through non-violent methods.
Dr. King’s determination against seemingly hard odds has always stirred both admiration and deep respect from me. As a result, I have been inspired to dig even deeper in my study about him and other like-minded thought leaders of his time. This has not only led to an extensively insightful understanding of certain events in our history, but it has also enabled me to realize the great amount of sacrifice required to move society in a particular direction. Ultimately, I believe the story of Dr Martin Luther King Jr has contributed to the depth of my mental development.
Being an active reader, there are many books that have inspired me but if there is one book that has greatly impacted my life then it has to be ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave.’ This is a text that sharply portrays the real life of a black slave in antebellum America. The clear descriptions contained therein released a certain sense of anger at how a human being, overwhelmed by feelings of being superior, can treat another human being whom he considers to be lower in status. This text lays down the experiences of a young man right from boyhood up till adulthood when he finally finds himself free from the shackles of slavery.
The story of Frederick Douglass is the kind of story whose relevance lasts with age. This is of particular interest in normal America especially in view of the widespread concern about the treatment of African Americans by law enforcement officers. It is the kind of story that forces one to evaluate his or her perception of why people do the things they do. This narrative inspired me into trying to understand the motive(s) behind the actions of African Americans in agitating for equality rights. In a sense, it enabled me to drop my rather simplistic view of race relations in America and gradually guided me towards the path of Black World Studies.