Black History Month: A Gift and an Invitation
There is a gift and an invitation that comes with Black History Month. The gift: it intentionally sets aside a month to celebrate the achievements and contributions of black Americans. The invitation: it’s too easy to think the work is done when February is over. What if that was just the beginning?
You might have already known that February is Black History Month, which was officially recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. However, its origins go back to 1926, when a historian and a minister (who founded an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other people of African descent) sponsored a national Negro History Week in mid-February.
This Black History Month, consider February as a starting point. Instead of thinking of it as a single month to read, learn, and consider black history, think of it as a month to map out how to incorporate this learning in an ongoing way.
Here are a few ways to start and carry forward the learning:
- Find a book amongst the many lists of recommended reads (a few linked below) that will help expand what you know about black history or lived experience
- Watch a documentary or series that illuminates the experiences of black Americans (e.g., 13th or When They See Us)
- Check out and offer your support to a non-profit organization that supports or seeks to knock down barriers for black individuals
Let us know how you’re choosing to engage with Black History Month this year.
Origins of Black History Month:
This is How February Became Black History Month:
Books for black history:
Oprah’s recommended books by black authors: https://www.oprahmag.com/entertainment/books/g26187205/best-books-black-authors/
Author: Alene Gabriel
Guest Contributor and All Around Good Person. Founder of Blue Sky Coaching.