Every February, the United States celebrates Black History Month, also known as African American History Month.
Originally established as a week-long celebration in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Black History Month was first recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976. President Ford challenged the American people to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Whether you're looking to learn more about significant African American historical figures or immerse yourself in the culture, here are some interesting ways to participate in this important exchange of information.
Visit an art museum.
After years of successfully hosting art competitions for photographers, landscape artists, and figural artists of the Mid-Atlantic region, the Biggs Museum is proud to introduce a new juried exhibition highlighting the work of regional African American artists. Beginning Friday, February 4, 2022 and running through May 21, 2022, the museum will present Visions & Voices, which showcases visual art forms such as painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, craft, fiber, and video. The physical exhibition will be accompanied by an opening reception, artist talks, public programming, and gallery sales of the accepted works.
Support local Black-owned businesses.
At least once a week throughout the month of February, make a point to shop at or explore local companies owned by African American entrepreneurs or that have historical importance. This effort builds positive bonds with area business owners and empowers your community, too. Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is proud to be a Black-owned and operated firm right here in Delaware.
Check out a documentary.
Documentaries can be great sources of information about Black history if you’re seeking to brush up on your knowledge. Check out The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross to explore Black identity through diverse social and religious perspectives; 13th, about the criminal justice system’s mistreatment of Black communities in the U.S.; or Slavery By Another Name, which demonstrates how slavery continued well into the 20th Century under the guise of forced labor.
Settle in with a good book.
Are you an avid reader? If so, why not add some relevant fiction or non-fiction to your reading list this February? Some good options include the New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, which focuses on injustices in the criminal justice system in the U.S., or Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a powerful essay from a father to his son about race in America. If fiction is more your speed, check out Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas or The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
Make a donation.
One way to honor Black History Month in the U.S. is to donate to a charity that supports Black communities. Visit supportblackcharities.org for a helpful list of Black charity organizations that support a diverse array of challenges faced by Black communities today including addiction, financial literacy, and LGBTQ+ issues.
Take a virtual tour.
Explore Black history online by participating in an immersive virtual tour of fascinating cultural sites and museums. Most allow you to schedule a guide-led tour on Zoom or navigate a self-led tour. Here are some special tours for Black History Month you may want to consider:
- A Walk Through Harlem with The New York Times
- Virtual Civil Rights Trail
- Freedom March Selma to Montgomery
- Google Arts and Culture Black History and Culture
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights Virtual Tour
- National Museum of African American History and Culture Online
There are many other tours available, including paid Zoom tours with question-and-answer components. To find an online experience, select a location and subject, then refine your search with the words ‘virtual tours’.
Black History Month is the perfect time to honor life-changing African American achievements and unite in the effort to shape a promising future for all people. If you wish to learn more about the services we provide, please contact our caring professionals anytime.
About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit www.ewsmithfs.com.