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. As part of the credit union movement, we at Community Resource strive to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within the organizations and communities we serve. Join us as we come together this month to celebrate Black History Month!
There are so many ways to celebrate! We challenge you to do one thing for Black History Month on each of the 28 days of February.
Here are 28 ideas to help get you started:
- Support a Black-owned business. 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.
- Visit a Black- or civil rights-history museum. If museums are not open for in-person visits in your area, you can take a virtual tour at almost any museum, including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the DuSable Museum of African American History or the National Civil Rights Museum.
- Read the poem “I, Too,” by Langston Hughes and have a family discussion about the poem’s meaning.
- Read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
- Binge-watch your favorite movies and documentaries on Black history and the civil rights movement.
- Learn about the life of Rosa Parks, one of the most influential figures of the civil rights movement.
- Read “On Beauty,” a novel by contemporary author Zadie Smith that explores beauty, feminism and sexuality within the context of race.
- Volunteer for a Black charity. You can find a full list here.
- Tune into blues music to read up on its history in the Black community.
- Look through James Karales’s photos of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights marches and discuss their significance.
- Learn the lyrics to “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” released by James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” in August 1968, just four months after King’s assassination.
- 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.
- Explore Black history through the thousands of sources in the National Archives. This photo series of Chicago in the 1970s is a great place to start.
- 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.
- Learn the unique art of stepping, a form of dancing that uses the body to create rhythms and sounds. Check out Step Afrika! for how-to videos and information.
- Play a family game of Mancala, the ancient African game.
- Learn the lyrics and the background of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the Black National Anthem.
- Learn about an unknown hero of Black history.
- Submit a blog to a Black media outlet.
- 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.
- Create an ‘I Have a Dream’ garland with your family. Look up instructions here.
- Watch these student-made documentaries on notable African Americans.
- Make a reading list of great books by Black authors.
- Make a list of your favorite inspirational quotes by well-known Black personalities.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take a virtual tour of Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters in Savannah, Ga.
Black history is rich, diverse, and, unfortunately, often painful. Use this list of ideas and activities to enrich your knowledge of Black culture and history this February.
Your Turn: How will you be celebrating Black History month? Share your ideas with us in the comments.