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5 Questions with Maya Washington

Taking Black History Beyond The Textbook

This Black History Month, lifestyle expert Maya Washington and other creators are working with AT&T to tell lesser-known but fascinating stories from Black History. It’s all part of AT&T 28 Days History By Us — Black History told by Those Making it.


Recently, we caught up with the shameless star to learn about her personal connection to Black History Month and her ideas for celebrating it year-round.


1. What does Black History Month mean and represent to you personally? 


Black History month personally represents a time to celebrate one of the most inspiring figures in my life, which was my great-granny, Fanny Mae Washington. She was born and raised in Mississippi on a plantation on February 21st, 1915. She is the definition of Black history and laid the foundation for the opportunities I get to receive today. 


“I see so much love and support with today Black contemporaries being celebrated on social media as well as by influencer’s. Today is history in the making.” —@mayasworld 

2. In today’s era of social media, how important is it for influencers to use their platforms to champion Black history? 

I think it’s important to celebrate those who have sacrificed their lives and moved the needle forward for sure, and influencers are using their platforms to do just that. I see so much love and support with today’s Black contemporaries being celebrated on social media as well as by influencers. Today is history in the making.


3. What would you do to ensure the celebration of Black history reverberates year-round?


I would continue to celebrate my peers and those making huge strides today by supporting and recognizing their work. Also, I’d encourage both younger and older generations to research and understand where you came from and how much effort and sacrifice it took to get us here today. Go beyond the school textbook, which for the most part wasn’t written by us, and talk to family, and I can’t stress the value of travel. Understand Black history both here in the U.S. and abroad. There is so much rich, colorful history once you start your journey to discovery it.


4. What will your “History by Us” story be 100 years from now?


It would be a story about a girl who decided to abandon shame and fear and live life shamelessly and in doing so inspired millions to do the same.


5. Name the most important qualities someone needs to have in order to make Black history?


Faith, sacrifice, patience, wisdom, courage, strength and an insane work ethic.


*Responses edited with permission for clarity and length.


Watch Maya Washington tell the story of Ella Sheppard here.


Check out other “History by Me” profiles:


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