5 Family-Friendly Ideas to Celebrate Black History Month
It’s officially February, Black History Month. A time specially carved out for celebrating and recognizing the achievements and contributions of African Americans and blacks around the world. According to The Witness, a black christian collective blog, Black History Month, originally coined in 1926 as Negro History Week was created by Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard trained historian. He felt that there was a need to recognize the all too overlooked accomplishments of black Americans, which is why he is known as the father of “black history”
Each year, a theme for Black History Month is chosen and is focused on specific aspects of blacks’ contribution to the American fabric of society. So many of us have no idea of the innovations and accomplishments of many black men and women of the past and that is why Black History Month is so important. It is especially for our generation who is bombarded with fake news and the celebrity lifestyle. This year, for 2019 the theme is “Black Migrants” and I find this so appropriate for the current times, as America continues to be divided on the issue of immigration. The truth is, however, the anals of history are delved in the migration of black people from the south to the north, from the Caribbean to the US, London and the the like. This is a celebration that runs deep and touches on many aspects of our society.
Coming from a West Indian/Caribbean background, my perspectives on race may differ, but our history is essentially the same - dragged from the motherland, shackled and displaced, and scattered across the the Americas to work as slaves. That is why I truly believe that Black History Month should be celebrated not just in America, but around the world (Canada and United Kingdom have days dedicated to celebrating black history).
So, now that Black History Month is here again and I begin to reflect as a black woman, who herself migrated to the United States in search of higher education, I support this movement and I enjoy the thought of honoring African Americans and blacks all over the world. I don’t think I have ever really truly celebrated the occasion. I mean, how does one celebrate Black History Month? Now that I am a mother, and I am conscience about raising culturally aware children I deliberately decided to do a little research of my own to collect ideas specifically for this blog post. With that being said, although there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Black History Month here are 5 family-friendly ways you can celebrate the ocassion.
1. Check for Local Events in Your Area
Lots of cities and communities celebrate Black History Month and there are a host of events happening all around the country and the world for that matter. If you are in NYC, the Museum of Moving Image in Astoria, Queens is an excellent family affair. Enjoy weekly film screenings from black filmmakers to include Karyn Parsons' world premiere of And I Danced. Show times are February, 8th, 15th and 22nd. See http://movingimage.us/ for more details.
Looking for something riveting and spiritually uplifting? Try A Harlem Gospel or Jazz Tour with Sunday brunch. Learn about Harlem and its ongoing renniassance, all while listening to live gospel and jazz. Visit Harlem Spiritual Tours to purchase tickets.
If you live in Houston, TX be sure to check out the African American History Parade the third Saturday in February, hosted by the Houston Sun newspaper. Another great experience is the Houston Museum of African American Culture, which features a diverse offering of exhibitions and programs for all to enjoy.
In Atlanta? There are loads of things that you and your family can enjoy. Visit the "Blacks on Stamps" Digital Exhibit at the African American Panoramic Experience Museum, visit the Children's Museum of Atlanta and experience their Black History Month programming, where children and parents can explore powerful stories of influential African Americans.
2. Watch a Black Movie
One of the great benefits of digital is having access to just about anything at the simple touch of a button. Plan a movie night or two with your kids. Not only is this a great time for bonding, but also for learning. Here are some movie choices that the entire family can enjoy to inclue The Color Purple, with Whoopi Goldberg, Akeelah and the Bee, The Black Panther and more great films.
2. Read the “Little Leaders” by Vashti Harrison
Meet 40 trailblazing black, bold women who changed history and paved the way for future generations in this exciting illustration book for young children. Mommy and daddy can learn too!
3. Support a Black Owned Business
According to Nielsen, African Americans make up only 14% of the population, but spends over $1 trillion dollars annually. Though this spend is significant, African Americans are still the most underpriveliedged group in America. It even goes on to say, that in some categories black consumers make up over 50% of overall spending and can even influence other mainstrain consumers' purchasing choices. Despite this however, there is still a level of distrust amongst ourselves, and we consciously or subconsciously bypass our black owned business in support of others. If we understand the power in our dollars and the positive effect it can have on our own communities, in terms of job creation and other benefits, we would be more enticed and eager to support our own. Here are some of my favorite black owned business and/or products.
Curls Founder, Mahisha Dellinger is open about her rise from poverty to success. Her natural hair brand Curls is one of the most popular on the market and caters to children and babies as well. She is an author and TV host of "Mind Your Business" on the OWN Network. I use the Culrs product on my girls and love it! Give it a Try!
CHEN BURKETT NEW YORK
Chen Burkett New York, is an Afro-Caribbean inspired clothing brand created by a corporate mommy who who got laid off from her job and turned a childhood skill into a successful fashion brand. With Antiguan roots as her foundation, Chen Burkett has been seen in ZINC Caribbean, Coastal Living and on TNT's Claws. Ava DurVernay and Niecy Nash are just some of the celebrities that have worn her colorful garments. Check her out! https://www.chenburkett.com/
AMINAH ABDUL JILLIL
This former professional dancer turned her love for shoes into a huge fashion brand known for their elaborate yet delicate bows that have been worn on celebrities like Rihanna.
Ade Hassan saw that their was a gap in the undergarment and hosiery market with little to no choices for women of color, so she created Nubian Skin just for us! You wouldn't believe how happy I was to see this when I stumbled onto her instagram a couple years ago. Thanks Ade!
4. Donate to or Volunteer for a Black Non-Profit Organization
In case you have not seen or heard of the four fearless Antiguan women who braved the Atlantic Ocean for 47 days, then this post is for you! Team Antigua Island Girls embarked on a journey of uncertainty, courage and sheer grit as the first all female and all black team to row in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. These four ladies, with no rowing background, training or experience took on this challenge for a cause, as they rowed for Cottage of Hope, a safehouse for abandoned and abused girls on the island of Antigua. To date, Team Antigua Island Girls and their row of bravery has been seen in headlines from Essence, to MadameNoire, BBC and more. I don't know about you, but Team Antigua Island Girls exudes #BlackExcellence and #Blackgirlmagic and they are an inpsiration for all women around the world. What they did, was make Her-story! Support the Cottage of Hope here by making a donation that will help change the lives of young vulnerable girls.
Photos taken from essence.com
5. Get Active
I have always been of the firm belief, that the only way we can move forward as a people is by remembering where we came from. Our history reminds us of who we are, it gives us a sense of pride, it reminds us of the periods of time that we never want to repeat or those moments that we want to remember forever because it changed our lives. With viral hashtags like #blackgirlmagic and #blackexcellence flooding our social channels for months, there is no better time than now to celebrate our “blackness”. This is a “black renaissance” and for the first time in a very long time, black women and men around the world are feeling more confident in their beautiful skins. Blacks not only in America are finally coming together to support and lift each other up. This is the beginning of a new and amazing era. Happy Black History Month to you all!
Photo Credit: @BennyHarlem
Do you and your family celebrate Black History Month with unique and interesting things or activities? I would LOVE to hear all about it. Please leave a comment below and don’t forget to share this post!