Black History Month is here and it’s a time for reflection, education, and celebration. We look to consider how Black people have shaped our history and our lives, learn about their accomplishments and hardships, and celebrate Black joy.
In 1915, nearly 50 years after slavery was abolished in the United States, Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, an organization dedicated to studying and amplifying the achievements of people of African descent.
Later in 1926, the group founded Negro History Week which was designed to encourage local communities nationwide to organize celebrations and learning opportunities. By 1976, the week had evolved into a month-long celebration and was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford.
As a nation, many of us understand that though much progress has been made, there is still much work to be done.
A wonderful way to educate oneself and amplify Black voices is to diversify your bookshelf. Here are some books to read during Black History Month and beyond:
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration By Isabel Wilkerson
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Another great resource for learning and understanding is Ted Talks. Here are a couple of pertinent playlists:
We can also celebrate Black joy by streaming movies and shows in this list by Tai Gooden.
While Black History Month is an important time to celebrate and uplift our Black communities, it’s important to support Black-owned businesses, take part in community events and engage in learning throughout the year.