8 Feb 2021
Black History Month takes place each year during the month of February. The precursor to Black History Month was a history week established in 1926 to coincide with the birthday of two prominent figures in Black history and liberation - Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglas on February 14. In 1970, the month of February was established as Black History Month, after originally being proposed by Black educators and students at Kent State University in 1969. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated the month of February as Black History Month to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and honor the legacy of all who fought for freedom and progress. Here are some ways you can honor and celebrate Black History Month.
Immerse yourself in history. We were all given various levels of rudimentary historical education in school regarding Black history and the Civil Rights Movement, but that was only the beginning of our education. Having an understanding of the past can help us make sense of the present, and offers a lens with which to see how progress has been, and continues to be made each day. Take some time this month to read up on Black history and the works of influential Black leaders of the past and present. There are books, movies, podcasts, and so many other forms of media that can be a wonderful way to brush up on your history. Living on the Delmarva Peninsula, we are centrally located to so many sites that are historically significant to Black history. From the Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway that trails through Maryland’s Eastern Shore, to the short distance from major city centers of Baltimore, Philadelphia, and DC, there is no shortage of places to visit for a fully immersive dive into the history of Black culture in America. Some notable locations and museums include:
Support your local Black owned businesses. Small businesses are a pillar of our community and economy, and deserve to be treated as such. For Black History Month, go out of your way to support Black owned businesses. Do your Valentine’s Day gift shopping at a Black owned small business this year, or get your next takeout meal from a Black owned restaurant. If you’re not sure where your nearest Black owned business is, check out these resources.
Get involved in your community. Find ways to get involved and give back to organizations that are doing great work in your local community.
Remember that while these things can be done during Black History Month, they should also be done all year round. History is being made daily, and the struggles, triumphs, and culture of the Black community are an integral and inseparable part of American history and life, and deserve recognition and celebration every day.