February may be short, but it is far from unimportant. All of the Groundhog Day festivities and Valentine’s Day candy often overshadow the fact that February is Black History Month. This month is a time in which we reflect on the achievements of African Americans throughout the life of our nation. It is a time to acknowledge the adversity they have faced and overcome. Out of harsh times in our history have come great speakers, literary works, music, and art. Out of these times have come a better country. Take a few minutes just to celebrate Black History Month in one of these ways:
1. Read the works of black authors
I recommend Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
2. Read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech
Martin Luther King Jr Day may have come and gone in January, but it is essential to continue observing his legacy. We should all be aware of his contributions to equality and the sacrifices that he and others made while fighting for it. The full text can be found at https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/drea...
3. Read Maya Angelou’s poetry
This phenomenal woman wrote incredible poetry throughout her life. She fought oppression in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and persevered in Still I Rise. Her messages are timeless.
4. Listen to some music
If you’re not into reading, you can certainly appreciate Black history with music. A good portion of popular music today has its roots in Black Culture. I challenge everyone to travel back in time and listen to some jazz or blues. My personal favorite is the music of Motown.
5. Go to a Civil Rights Monument
I will never forget my visit to the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. It serves as a reminder and tribute to those who died fighting for equality during the movement. The Rosa Parks museum is also nearby, and if you are able to I highly recommend both of these sites. As someone who lives in Upstate New York, I hope to make time to visit some of the Underground Railroad sites and Harriet Tubman’s home.
6. Go to a community event
Libraries are usually a good place to start. If you’re on a college campus, there’s likely to be plenty of events. If there aren’t, start one yourself!