As the Black History Month series on Transatlantic Notes comes to an end, it’s critical to understand that there’s so much more that could be celebrated. Black American achievement, resiliency and the national and cultural impact they’ve had on this nation are not confined to just a few people or a small noteworthy number of events. Black history is American History and it shouldn’t be restricted to a month or be taught as an elective or seen as a sidenote.
We should all strive to be curious and continue to learn because when we do, we discover the Claudette Colvin’s, the Fannie Lou Hamer’s, the Bayard Rustin’s, the Garrett Morgan’s and the Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s of this world, for example. If you’re interested in continuing to explore Black History in a more in-depth way, then here are a few ideas to support your journey …
It Starts With Knowledge …
While Black History undoubtedly deserves to showcase the voices of the past, there are some incredible authors, activists, community organizers and scholars of today that are maintaining the legacy of those trailblazers, innovators and changemakers from history. Refer to their work and take in their research and experiences that push forward the fight for equality, equity and liberation. An excellent place to start is to read works by Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped From The Beginning), Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want To Talk About Race), Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow) and bell hooks (Where We Stand). There are also some great resources and books available for youth via The Conscious Kid which provides valuable educational information dedicated to equity, racial identity and an awareness of critical race theory.
You can also make use of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and the indispensable resources they provide. Originally set up by Carter G. Woodson in 1915, who founded what is now Black History Month, the ASALH continued Woodson’s vision to have historic Black American contributions become mainstream. If you’re looking for even more historical resources and materials, head on over to the National Archives where you’ll find all sorts of records and information available (these are great for school, college, university or personal projects).
Some incredible cultural heritage sites around the USA will help you connect to Black History — you can find 50 of them listed here — and while many might be well known and well supported, there may be some in your local area that you’re unaware of. I managed to find a museum that delves into the Black History of where I live when I visited MuseumFinder (U.S. only) and scrolled through the places it found for me. Being part of a community’s future should involve relating to its past, and as we live in an era of unique communication and shareable knowledge, finding out what’s nearby to us has never been easier. No matter where you reside, you can search for something on the internet, through libraries, etc and visit different places of interest/importance. Let people know what you’ve discovered and champion the services they provide.
It Continues With Change …
Contact the Department of Education (U.S.) or find your Representatives to call for Black History to be taught nationwide at all educational levels as an evidence-based, robust, nuanced and well-resourced year-round core curriculum subject. If you’re not in America but your country has similar issues with misrepresenting and/or ignoring Black History, contacting equivalent governmental departments or officials can also be done. If you’re in the UK, for example, you can find/contact your local MP here.
You can also follow and donate to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund that aims to preserve African American historic sites and the histories/people that made a significant impact on society. The fund also has various projects you can support that make sure Black History does not go misrepresented or unrecognized. It’s definitely worth checking out.
This was just a short introduction to the various available resources so I encourage you to follow the links provided throughout this article (including some extras below) and undertake your own research to learn, honour, celebrate and commemorate Black History throughout the year. If you have any other great suggestions, leave a comment.
Movies & TV Shows To Watch During Black History Month – The Detroit News
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