Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month

Every February, we celebrate Black History Month and the incredible things black people have achieved in the past and even today. Black people in the U.S. have contributed greatly to the country and how we live today. It is important to acknowledge these contributions and to celebrate them.

How it Started

Black History Month wasn’t always a month, it actually started as a week. In 1926, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” in response to the lack of education on Black history in the U.S. They chose this week because it included the birthdays of both abolitionist Frederick Douglas and former president Abraham Lincoln. Over the years, people acknowledged that a week was too short so in 1976 President Gerald Ford extended it to a month. He said he did it to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” The U.S. has celebrated Black History Month ever since.

What It Honors

Black History Month was created to honor all black people throughout history who have made a change. Some figures that are honored during February are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks who were very famous civil rights activists in the 1960s. We also celebrate former president Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president. While these are people that should be celebrated, we also need to shine light on the lesser-known black figures. Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, and Elbert Howard founded the Black Panther Party in 1966 Oakland, California. They held breakfast for kids every morning, taught self-defense to black people, and taught lesser-known black history. They also protected black people from the racist police at the time. They were very important to black people at the time because they provided black people with more knowledge about their culture and protected them. Another lesser-known black historical figure is Shirley Chisolm. In 1968, Chisolm became the first black woman to be elected to the United States Congress. She represented New York’s 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. There are so many more unappreciated black figures throughout history that we need to start acknowledging.

How to Celebrate

There are many ways, big or small, to celebrate Black History Month. You can visit a Black History Museum. The Carter G. Woodson Museum, named after the founder of Black History Month, in St. Petersburg, Florida has a huge collection of Black History artifacts. While going through the museum, you will learn a lot about Black culture and history. They are planning to make at least 8,000 artifacts available for viewing in the next few years.

Learn about Black music history. Black music has heavily influenced music in not only the U.S. but the whole world. Blues, jazz, R&B, Hip Hop and so many other genres all came to be because of Black people. A wonderful source to learn more about Black music is the Black Music History Library, created by Jenzia Burgos. It includes a plethora of Black music sources, links to music samples, recordings, interviews, books, and articles. Streaming services like Spotify and Tidal have Black Music collections to listen to. Tidal even has a video collection explaining what music means to Black people and how important black music is.

Watch a documentary or movie that celebrates Black culture. An amazing movie to watch is Beyonce’s Black is King on Disney+. She tells a story throughout the film with her music and stunning visuals to celebrate Black people and the culture. The story is very beautiful and moving. It shows how resilient Black people are. Hidden Figures is also a great movie to watch if you want to learn about lesser-known Black figures. There are so many more movies you can watch to celebrate Black History Month.

Black History Month Today

Since Black History Month became official in the U.S., many other countries joined the celebration of Black contributions and culture. Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and even the Netherlands have their own Black History Month. Today, we use Black History Month to continue the discussion of Black contributions and culture. There are multiple museums around the world that honor Black culture and success through their exhibits. There are also movies that celebrate Black people and honor what they have gone through. Black History is being made every single day and it is important that we celebrate it all.