Happy Black History Month from You Are Black Gold!
Black History Month originated as Negro History Week in 1926. The week was sponsored by the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), known today as the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), founded by Carter G. Woodson. It was decided that the week would coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, during the second week of February. Many organizations began celebrating Black History Month during the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and in 1976 the month was officially recognized by President Ford.
Did you know that each year, Black History Month has an official theme designated by ASALH? The 2018 theme is “African Americans in Times of War,” in commemoration of the end of World War I in 1918.
Let’s think of this Black History Month as a time to begin your deliberate journey in learning more about the history and culture of African Americans and the African diaspora. While you may begin this month, don’t let it end here—You Are Black Gold is here to help you along your journey! Together we can learn from the experiences of our ancestors while celebrating their contributions to humanity along the way.
Here are 12 ways to celebrate your heritage during Black History Month:
Read a non-fiction book or classic novel on the African American experience. Check out our 2018 Reading List for suggestions!
2. Watch a documentary or classic film
Thanks to streaming services, there's no shortage of film options to choose from. Try something outside of your usual genre for a change of pace.
3. Do community service
Find a non-profit, community-based organization to serve with this month. We all have valuable skills to contribute to making our communities stronger and better. Volunteering a few hours of your time (and maybe a little elbow grease) can make a huge difference in the life of someone else.
4. Read to a child
Help the next generation by spending quality time teaching them about their rich ancestry. We suggest a book by an African American author with beautiful illustrations of Black children, in which they can see themselves! There are plenty to choose from. #ItTakesAVillage
5. Visit a museum, monument or historical site
The National Museum of African American History and Culture should definitely be on your bucket if you haven’t already been. If you have gone once and live within a reasonable distance, go again! Otherwise, find one (or two, or three) of the many sites across the country dedicated to African American contributions to society—and bring a friend along with you.
6. Mentor and be mentored
Begin two mentoring relationships—one in which you will learn and the other in which you will teach. Both relationships should be reciprocal; seek out opportunities to give as well as receive.
7. Give your elders their flowers while they can still smell them
We often wait until it is too late to celebrate those who mean the most to us. Do something special for an elder to show them how much you appreciate all they’ve sacrificed and contributed to you and/or your community.
8. Begin (or continue) researching your family tree
This may become a life-long project, but you might be surprised by what learn about your ancestry (and yourself) along the way. Being able share this information with your children and grandchildren one day will prove to be invaluable. Someone in your family many have already begun this research. If so, pick up where they left off or join them and make it a family project!
9. Go out of your way to patronize Black businesses throughout the month
Black-owned businesses offer many of the products and services that we use on a regular basis. Find ways to integrate them into your routine throughout the month. Maybe try a Black-owned restaurant for Sunday brunch, a Black-owned nail salon for your mani/pedi, or take your clothes to a Black-owned dry cleaners this week to recirculate your dollars in the community.
10. Prepare a traditional dish
Maybe you can finally convince grandma to pass that secret recipe down to you! If not, try a great local soul food, Caribbean or African restaurant to patronize instead.
11. Go to a live jazz, blues, or soul music concert
There is nothing like live music! Your support of local musicians helps keep our musical traditions alive! There will probably be quite a few concerts in your area in celebration of Black History Month. Keep an eye out for them.
12. Keep up with You Are Black Gold!
We have tons engaging content and surprises in store this month to help you celebrate! 🎉 Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow on our social media platforms so you won't miss a beat!