Celebrating Black History Month

Sidney Sandoval, Editor

February marks the start of the month when we come together to appreciate African Americans’ role in U.S. history, Black History Month. First recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford,  we take the month of February to celebrate African Americans’ accomplishments, culture, and contributions. It’s essential to learn about African American history through text and others’ experiences, so here are some suggestions as to how you can celebrate Black History Month.


       1. Work on Being Educated: It’s important to know facts and learn about other’s experiences. Figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are typically celebrated alongside Black History Month, but there are an endless amount of noteworthy African American figures you could learn about. Ella Baker, for example, was a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement, and Marsha P. Johnson was an early advocate for gay and transgender rights.


      2. Read Works by African American Authors: What matters is not whether it’s classic poetry or science fiction, but who wrote it. Read books written by African American authors to celebrate their achievements and learn something at the same time. Here are a few recommendations from different genres:

  • “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
  • “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid
  • “Poems From Prison” by Etheridge Knight
  • “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry


      3. Watch Movies with Contributions by African Americans: Maybe reading isn’t your thing, but you’re still left with many options. Watch movies or plays directed by or starring African Americans. They may be educational, or they may not, still you’ll be intaking media through a different lens. Here are a few recommendations:

  • “Get Out” directed by Jordan Peele
  • “Selma” directed by Ava DuVernay
  • “Hidden Figures” directed by Theodore Melfi
  • “Malcolm X” directed by Spike Lee
  • “A Raisin in the Sun” directed by Lorraine Hansberry
  • “The Colored Museum” by George C. Wolfe
  • “The Piano Lesson” by August Wilson
  • “The Mountaintop by Katori Hall


    4. Stay active! Donate to and/or support organizations continuing the fight against discrimination. Places such as the Black Youth Project need donations to continue giving African Americans the platform they deserve. Read about what these organizations are doing and how your money can help them reach their goal. Sign petitions and share them to demonstrate their legitimacy.

Black History Month, recognized since 1976, is a time to celebrate African Americans’ contributions, culture, and accomplishments. To celebrate this month, individuals can educate themselves on African American history, read works by African American authors, watch movies with contributions by African Americans, and donate to or support organizations continuing the fight against discrimination. By doing so, we can honor and appreciate the significant role African Americans have played in American history.