February 1st to March 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month. A time to learn and celebrate the legacy, influence, and achievements of African Americans, and acknowledge their honorable role in shaping the country.
Carter G. Woodson created Black History Month. In 1926, Woodson developed Black History week, which then progressed in 1976 to Black History Month. Woodson chose to celebrate in the second week of February, because it coincided with the birthdays of two men who largely influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.
“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished, lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history,” -Carter G. Woodson.
There are many important people to recognize for their excellence. Among these people are John Lewis, a civil rights and congressional leader, Katherine Johnson, a Nasa mathematician who inspired the movie, Hidden Figures, Hank Aaron, a great baseball player who became a mighty force for civil rights, and many more brilliant people.
Another influencer was Maya Angelou, an American poet, memorist, and civil rights activist, who is best known for her autobiographies, and autobiographical fiction. One of her more significant pieces being, “ I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, making literary history. Her work, viewed as a pillar of African American culture. Maya Angelou has a great influence on past and present generations, and has made a permanent, legendary impact in the world.
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is strength.” -Maya Angelou
Music today that has come from black culture includes: spiritual, gospel, blues, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, dub reggae, and more. Some of the most influential black musicians were Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, James Brown, and Prince. Prince was a fierce advocate for artists’ rights and was passionate about black artists maintaining ownership of their work.
Buddy Bolden, named “the first man of jazz”, invented the smooth swing of jazz music. Buddy Bolden regarded as a key figure in New Orlean’s style of ragtime music, he was also said to have gained inspiration from gospel music, and held a long lasting impact in music to come.
Ways to contribute during Black History month can be donating to black-owned businesses, supporting black-led organizations, reading black literature, taking it upon yourself to learn about black history, and supporting black artists.
A few provided that can be found on common social medias like,
The Ivy, Baltimore (@theivyhotel)
Quintessentials Bed & Breakfast and Spa, East Marion, New York
Chicago South Loop Hotel, CHicago (@southloophotel)
Educators for Justice (@educatorsforjustice)
Abide Women’s Health Services
Southside pregnancy Center, Evergreen Park, IL
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Kendra Dandy (theebouffants)
During Black history month, we should learn and pay tribute to some of history’s greats and carry on their legacy. Take the information you’ve learned and keep learning, as you celebrate the beauty of black culture.
“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”