Since the 1970s, the month of February has been designated as the time to celebrate and commemorate Black history. Schools, television networks, and private organizations use this month to increase awareness and to educate people about the rich history of Black Americans.
There are so many ways to celebrate. Here are 18 ideas to help get you started:
- Search the Official Black Wall Street app or the WeBuyBlack website to find a Black-owned business to support. Many small businesses are hurting now. Show your support for a business in your community that is owned or operated by a Black person, partnership, or family.
- Explore the online offerings of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and the National Civil Rights Museum.
- Read the poem “I, Too,” by Langston Hughes and have a discussion with family or friends about the poem’s meaning.
- Read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
- Learn about the life of Rosa Parks, one of the most influential figures of the civil rights movement.
- Tune into blues music to read up on its origin in the Black community.
- Look through James Karales’s photos of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights marches and discuss their significance.
- Donate to a racial justice or educational cause, such as The Sentencing Project, Thurgood Marshall College Fund or the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
- Read the poem “A Pledge to Rescue Our Youth,” by Maya Angelou. You can also watch this video to learn more about Angelou’s inspiration for this remarkable poem on youth and education.
- Play a family game of Mancala, the ancient African game.
- Learn the lyrics and the background of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which is known as the Black National Anthem.
- Read a memoir written by an influential Black figure. Some great picks include “Becoming,” by Michelle Obama, “The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History In The Old South,” by Michael W. Twitty and “Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir Of Family,” by Condoleezza Rice.
- Make a reading list of great books by Black authors, such as “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and “Beloved” by Toni Morrison.
- Tune into the free educational program and performance on Black history and culture by the Chicago Children’s Choir. The event will livestream on Facebook and YouTube on Feb. 25, 2021.
- Learn the songs of the civil rights movement, like “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Oh, Freedom.” Have a family discussion, or open a discussion on your favorite social media platform, about the way the lyrics reflect the hopeful spirit of the era.
- Do you know who was the first Black tennis player to win the U.S. Open? Brush up on your knowledge about the many famous firsts in Black history.
- Learn about the accomplishments of Black inventors, whose contributions changed the world. Charles Richard Drew, for example, created America’s first major blood banks, and Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home security system.
- Visit local places that are significant to Black history. Examples in the St. Louis area include the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis (where the slave Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, sued for their freedom in 1847), Old Des Peres Church (a stop on the Underground Railroad), and the Chuck Berry House (where the rock and roll legend lived while writing hits such as “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Johnny B. Goode”).
Black history is rich, diverse, and, unfortunately, often underacknowledged. Use this list of ideas and activities to enrich your knowledge of Black culture and history this February.