Feb. 1 marks both the beginning of Black History Month and National Freedom Day, the anniversary of the day President Abraham Lincoln signed the resolution that would later become the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.
This year’s Black History Month begins less than two weeks after the inauguration of the first Black (and South Asian) woman to be vice president, so 2021 has already made a contribution to the history the month celebrates. But there’s so much more—and Nikole Hannah-Jones has a critical reminder:
If you’re looking to deepen your knowledge and understanding, The 1619 Project, headed by Hannah-Jones and for which she won a Pulitzer Prize, is one very good resource. There are so many others, for people of all ages.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History has a virtual Black History Month Festival this year.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is starting its Black History Month programming with a book discussion with Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain on their new book Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019. That’s on Feb. 2, and it will be followed by much more, including Joyful Fridays, which “welcomes children every Friday in February to create art that celebrates Black joy, history and culture.”
The National Education Association has lessons and resources for teaching kids of all ages. That can include your own kids who are home too much these days—but also, honestly, there’s a lot here for people of all ages to learn from. If your focus is on kids, there are frankly too many lists of kids’ books for Black History Month to even list here.
This month brings a host of new movies and cultural events to watch and participate in.
Here at Daily Kos, read back through the #BlackMusicSunday series by Denise Oliver-Velez.
If your business or employer is getting ready to drop a series of social media posts about Black History Month, perhaps take a look at the NAACP’s advice on what brands can do for Black History Month (and Martin Luther King Day). (Hint: It’s about practices all year long, not words on a couple of specific occasions.)
LaGarrett King, a University of Missouri associate professor of social studies education, gave USA Today some tips for educators that would be well taken by many adults as well in their own thinking. His key advice? “Teach Black history from Black perspectives.” Don’t just teach or learn the history that’s “palatable to white audiences,” even if that means making yourself uncomfortable. (Case in point.) Consider these themes for a well-rounded view:
- Power, oppression, and racism
- Black agency, perseverance, and resistance
- Africa and the African diaspora
- Black joy and Black love
- Black identities other than heterosexual, Christian, middle-class Black men
- Black historical contention and the problematic aspects of Black history
- Black excellence
There’s a lot out there. Center Black voices. Push your boundaries.