February is Black History Month – a time when we celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions, achievements, and history of African Americans. During this month, we also recognize the ongoing struggle for racial justice and honor the many African Americans who have and continue to strive for equality. Black History Month is a time for educating ourselves and others so that we can be more culturally aware and celebrate the month appropriately.
Black History Month was created by Carter G. Woodson, a PhD graduate of Harvard, author, and historian. Woodson noted a significant lack of information about African American history taught in the US education system. Many curriculums misrepresent topics such as slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, which trivializes the severity of these issues. In creating this month, he hoped to encourage young African Americans to be proud of their heritage and to understand the true history of their culture.
One great way to become educated on the history of African Americans is through reading. Reading about the history of topics such as racism, identity, and diversity can make the reader more culturally aware. Additionally, it’s important to give a platform to Black voices and to recognize that Black history must be taught from Black perspectives. Read books written by Black authors who are able to provide their perspective on current issues and who can explore themes of race, violence, and discrimination through their works of both fiction and non-fiction.
Small bookstore or shop owners can also help provide customers with resources and materials during Black History Month. Create a special section to feature prominent Black literary authors like Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. Du Bois. Other examples of a few books that are written by or about great African American leaders include Yes We Did by Lawrence Jackson and Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight. Both of these titles are available for bulk purchase at American Book Company, along with a variety of other books about African American history and by Black authors.
For businesses looking for ways to honor Black History Month, the NAACP has provided guidance and resources to help. Make an effort this month to honor the efforts, achievements, and accomplishments of African Americans throughout history.