Celebrating Black History Month
Each February marks Black History Month, where we pay tribute to the triumphs and struggles of Black communities throughout U.S. history. Its creation can be traced back to 1915, “when noted historian and scholar Carter G. Woodson created a themed week to honor Black history.”1 It became officially recognized as a month-long celebration in 1976. While this month is crucial to provide recognition of the Black community, it is important to show support all year-long. Below, we have compiled some resources and information to help celebrate Black excellence and the Black experience, always.
Celebrating Black History Month in Multifamily
The National Apartment Association hosted a webinar in 2021 which discussed celebrating the Black community in the rental housing industry, actions needed from organizations to increase Black representation, and how to break down barriers for Black people in rental housing. This important discussion can be viewed here.
Here are additional ways you can celebrate Black History Month:
Donate to Black Organizations
Consider donating to organizations that are making a positive impact on the Black community.
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization working to foster “an inclusive community rooted in liberation where all persons can exercise their civil human rights without discrimination.”
- Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD) is a “national training intermediary focused on transforming the practice of Black organizers in the US to increase their alignment, impact and sustainability to win progressive change.”
- Black Women’s Blueprint (BWB) is part of Restore Forward, an organization with programs that promote gender justice, racial healing, reproductive health, and reconciliation. BWB operates as a “lifeline for survivors of gender-based violence and provide birth education and holistic care to persons needing maternal health.” They also provide food accessibility and actively work to build racial equity.
For more organizations you can donate to, click here.
Support Black-Owned Businesses
Buying from Black-owned businesses is another great way to support the community all year.
- Harriet’s Bookshop is a Philadelphia-based book store named for historical heroine Harriett Tubman. They offer thoughtfully curated collections and books that can be purchased through their online store.
- Alaffia is a plant-based, fair-trade hair, face and body care brand, founded in 2003 by Olowo-n’djo Tchala and Rose Hyde. Alaffia’s goal is to “alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality,” which they accomplish through Empowerment Projects, from environmental sustainability to maternal health.
- Cup of Té is a Canadian tea brand offering loose leaf organic teas and teaware. Taylor Lindsay-Noel, an aspiring Olympic gymnast, began the company after suffering an accident during training that left her paralyzed. A portion of proceeds from their Starter Kit go towards mental health awareness.
- Dollaride is dedicated to helping organizations plan, launch, and manage their own commuter transit services. They are passionate about improving transportation equity in urban communities, working to eliminate transit deserts and benefit underserved communities.
Find more Black-owned businesses through these directories.
Visit or Support Museums Dedicated to the Black Experience—In-Person and Virtually
- The DuSable Black History Museum & Education Center: With over 15,000 pieces that include paintings, sculptures and historical memorabilia, The DuSable Museum is the nations first independent museum celebrating Black culture. Based in Chicago, the museum also offers virtual exhibits.
- Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture: NMAAHC is the only national museum “devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture.” Since it’s opening, the museum has collected more than 40,000 artifacts. Explore exhibits and more on their website.
- African American Museum of Southern Arizona: Operating on values of authenticity, inclusiveness, and accountability, AAMSAZ is “devoted to gathering and sharing stories, images, and artifacts as we document, digitize, and preserve African American and Black life, culture, and history in Southern Arizona to benefit the community.” Browse their site for legacy stories, collections, and oral histories.
- Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City: Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City was founded in 1974 by Horace M. Peterson III. It was created to both collect and preserve the history of Black Midwesterners. Exhibit information, digital galleries, yearbooks and more can be found through their website
Visit this link to discover Black History museums you can visit virtually.
Learn About Key Black Figures and their Contributions
- Maya Angelou was an American author, poet and activist. Her career spanned several decades and spawned several noteworthy works, including “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “And Still I Rise.”
- Ruby Bridges is a Civil Rights Activist widely known as the first Black student to integrate an elementary school in the South in 1960. In 1999, Ruby established The Ruby Bridges Foundation, which works to promote tolerance and change through education.
- Octavius V. Catto was an educator and Civil Rights Activist in the post-Civil War era. He fought against laws that prohibited Black people from riding railways, combated segregated education, and worked to expand the limited voting rights of Black citizens.
- Gordon Parks was a major figure in 20th century photography, as well as a poet, composer, and film director. His work during the 1940s through the 1970s focused on Civil Rights issues, poverty, race, and urban life.
You can learn more about important Black figures here.
Support Art, Music, Writing, Film and Television by Black Creators
- PBS offers Black Culture Connection, an exploration of Black history and culture via films, stories, and more.
- Spotify’s “Black History is Now” is a curated collection of playlists featuring Black musicians and podcasts.
- Netflix offers a selection of Black history movies and documentaries as part of their #BlackLivesMatter collection.
- The Collector has put together a list of Black artists defining contemporary art today.
Google’s Black History & Culture also offers a wealth of information on Black arts and culture of the past and present.