NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The lessons of Black History Month can apply to everyone, no matter when or how your family arrived on these shores.

So many people are doing family genealogies these days, but as the Smithsonian’s Lonnie Bunch told WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving, “It’s nice to know who your ancestors are, but it’s even better to know how they lived, what they experienced, what they did.”

So, grandma’s shawl and letters may not belong in the Smithsonian, but it certainly belongs in your family archives; preferably stored in an acid-free box to prevent deterioration, and with as much documentation on paper as you can provide.

“It’s important to see our stories from our point of view,” added filmmaker Shola Lynch.

Because if we don’t tell them, who will?

Read other Black History Month stories here.