February is Black History Month.
It’s a special month, where every day of the month is dedicated to honoring, celebrating, and recognizing the sacrifices and achievements made by African Americans.
Whether we celebrate in school by learning about history and it’s tumultuous past or on our own by reading essays, books, and poetry about the experiences of black Americans, this month serves as an important reminder about our years gone by and the ones to come.
Truth be told, there are more people, movements, experiences, and organisations to honor and recognize than days in a year - let alone the shorter month of February.
But as you mark each day in February, you can keep and honor Black History by doing some of the following:
If you’re reading list doesn’t feature black authors, head to your local library or bookstore and ask for some recommendations.
Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker are a wonderful place to start, and have penned some of the most prominent and important books in history.
If contemporary literature is more your speed, look up Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, or Colson Whitehead.
All have written exceptional books within the past decade.
Two years ago, The New York Times published a piece called, “28 Days, 28 FIlms for Black History Month”.
Shared there were 28 films or filmed footage that speak to the history of Black Americans in movies, and where to watch them.
Take a spin through the NYT article for content that could and should be filling your screen during this month of recognition.
Listening is a wonderful way to learn.
Stories, experiences, and information aren’t difficult to find if you’re looking in the right place.
Watch this Ted Talk given by Bryan Stevenson (acclaimed lawyer, social justice activist, and author of “Just Mercy”), about the horrifying issues within the American justice system. Side note: the new movie, “Just Mercy” is the film adaptation of his book.
Two other speeches that are worth a listen: this empowering lecture from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this moving, famous poem from Maya Angelou, or this tear-jerking speech about the transformative power of black female stories in Hollywood, from Viola Davis.
However you spend your time this February, make room for Black History Month celebrations.