February Means Black History Month, Right?

You’re twiddling your thumbs trying to figure out what to do for Black History Month.  You may be black, you may have black friend or neighbor, or you may even teach black children.  You’re lost of what to do to celebrate Black History Month and still be authentic.  You’re not alone.

First let’s start with the basics.  Short history recap, it was founded by Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week in 1926.  Woodson’s m.o. was to raise awareness of African Americans contributions to civilization.   It later became a month long celebration in 1976.  So you’re good if you only take a week to celebrate.  However, that’s only if you’re going make more time to celebrate next year, of course.  With that being said, how you celebrate BHM is up to you.  But it should always bring some type of awareness.

How does one bring awareness?  Here are a few easy ways to bring awareness:

  1. Music – Black Americans have contributed to music more than people realize.  And it’s not limited to R&B, Gospel, and Hip Hop.  Black Americans have contributed to every genre of music.  For example, some just recently discovered classical composer and conductor William Grant Still.  His compositions are truly soothing to the soul.  Great easy listening for a Sunday afternoon.
  2. Books – Read a piece of literary work.  In this digital age, picking up a book written by a black author is a great way to unplug.  From authors such as Julia Blues to Walter Mosley and everyone in between.  You can find a category of work that appeals to you.
  3. Black Churches – Visit one.  Now this may seem awkward to do.  But the black church was the heartbeat of the community during the 19th and 20th centuries.  From a place where community meetings were held to a Sunday morning experience that can never be duplicated. After visiting a black church, you may even say that is was just as moving as the book, the film, and now Broadway musical, The Color Purple.
  4. Black Art – Now music is a part of art but let’s add something else.  Whether it be an art museum or an Alvin Ailey production, Black Art offers a visual educational experience.  It is also a way to see Black Americans express themselves through art.  Between photography, paintings, and dance, art has been an effective way that Black Americans have shared their pain and triumphs.
  5. Patronize Black-Owned Businesses – Whether it be a restaurant or boutique, support black-owned businesses.  Not only does your frequency help the business, it shows that Black Americans are appreciated.  It also shows that Black Americans are viewed as equal competition and not second class citizens when you support a black-owned business.  It actually generates revenue for all and keeps people employed.

These are just a few ideas of what to do during Black History Month.  As President Gerald Ford said, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black history.”  Make time to read a book, visit a museum, or listen to some music that recognizes and reflects Black Americans.  Whatever you choose to do, continue to bring awareness of Black American’s contributions to society.

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