As we all know, February is Black History Month! A time dedicated to celebrating the achievements of African Americans in US history. Observances of this month are primarily relegated to classrooms or media in America, but how do we expand this recognition?
Growing up, my favorite memories from Black History Month came from watching TV show specials on the topic. Next, and most significantly, the teachers covering slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. I’m thankful for these memories and the knowledge gained from them; however, they were quite short-lived. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s that Black History can’t be confined to one month.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thankfully, with our vast access to resources, it is easier now than ever to expose ourselves to diverse voices from past and present. Minority books, movies, documentaries, podcasts, music; their stories are only a few clicks away. It’s a significant privilege we get to tap into, daily, to recognize and celebrate the Black Community year-round.
With that, I don’t want to project my own explanations and understanding of Black History; I’d rather prioritize their voices and experiences. So, below is just a short list of the resources and entertainment I’ve enjoyed and learned from over the last year. I hope you find them as helpful, thought-provoking, and engaging as I have.
- Kindred by Octavia E. Butler; a science-fiction read about a 20th-century Black woman who finds herself transported back in time to the antebellum South.
- Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration by Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts; a collection of lyrical essays on joy in the context of Black culture.
- The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. selected by Coretta Scott King; various selections of MLK’s writing and philosophies to keep his dream alive.
- Harriet; recounting the life of Underground Railroad conductor, Harriet Tubman.
- 13th; a documentary exploring historical racial inequality in America, particularly in the US judicial system.
- Black History Year by PushBlack; shares Black history straight from Black historians, thought-leaders, activists, and other experts.
- Code Switch by NPR; discussing the subject of race with empathy and humor from the voice of Black journalists.
- Truth’s Table by Truth’s Table; Black Christian Women sharing their perspectives on race, politics, gender, current events, pop culture, and faith.
- Spirituals; dive deep into the origins of Gospel music and the earliest form of Black musical expression in America.
- Rhythm and Blues; the stylistically diverse, predecessor to hip hop that popularized the idea of racial integration.
- Rock ‘n’ Roll; combined all African American music genres with American pop and country elements.
Most of us have only grazed the tip of the iceberg to a deeper understanding of Black culture and Black experiences in America. I pray we all share a heart to engage and encourage more diversity and inclusion into our lives. A diversity that makes life more rich, empathetic, loving, and celebratory.
Keep the conversation going. Share your resources and fun facts from Black History Month with us on our social media!