Honoring Black History Month
A Brief History
The month of February is the start of Black History Month, an annual observance which allows for Americans to explore and celebrate the different contributions and achievements of African Americans. Black History Month begins with Dr. Carter G. Woodson, when he travelled from Washington D.C. to Chicago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of emancipation in the United States in 1915. Feeling inspired by the vast amount of celebration, Woodson decided to form the “Association for the Study of Negro Life and History,” an organization that would research and promote achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.
Woodson wanted to spread his newfound organization, thus turning to his fraternity brothers for help. The Harvard fraternity then created Negro Achievement Week. As time went on, Woodson declared that the second week of February would be known as Black History Week.
Shortly, after the Civil Rights Movement called for equality and more Black representation, President Gerald Ford extended Black History Week to the entire month of February.
How to Properly Honor Black History Month
During Black History Month and any other time of the year, it is important to educate yourself on both the accomplishments and struggles of the Black community. Part of being a non-Black ally of the movement is acknowledging personal privileges and that we cannot fully understand the lived realities of our Black community. However, we should actively educate ourselves on the systemic racism Black people have faced and continue to face in this country. There are many streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime that highlight both accomplishments and struggles.
Celebrate Black Stories
Though the struggles that Black People have faced are unacceptable, Black History Month is not limited to the struggles of the Black community but also their accomplishments. The contributions that Black people have made are worth more than 28 days, and should be celebrated year round.
Supporting Black Creatives
Supporting Black people throughout the year is part of celebrating Black people. There are many books written by Black authors that break out of this country's racist narrative and question deeply rooted beliefs of what we think America is. Some include: How to be Anti Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurtson, and Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper. There are so many ways to support the Black community such as: supporting Black owned businesses, listening to music made by smaller Black artists, listening to educational podcasts, and being willing to listen.
Research Coordinator - Kelly Zarate
Editor - Vaishnavi Bhojane
Illustrator and Graphics - Ishika Chakraborty and Althea Ocomen