5 ways to celebrate Black History Month virtually
Here are five things we hope you'll consider:
Attend a virtual discussion.
Several are being held throughout the month at places like the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture,
Put on some dancing shoes (or don’t) and learn dance online during special events by the Karamu House, in Cleveland, the oldest African-American theater in the U.S.
Learn something new.
Interested in genealogy? LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, an author, teacher, lecturer and certified genealogist, will give her best tips on how to use probate and other estate records to identify potential slaveholders.
Watch an inspirational movie. There are so many to choose from. Here are seven we suggest:
- Blackkklansman is based on a true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. He decides to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan.
- Hidden Figures is the untold (until 2017) story of three African-American mathematicians, who are the brains behind the launch of the John Glenn into space. Katherine Johnson, the inspiration for the movie, died in 2020 at age 101. She is played by Taraji P Henson and is joined by Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.
- If Beale Street Could Talk is based in the early 1970s in Harlem about two friends since childhood who dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is based on the “mother of the blues” Gertrude Pridgett (played by Viola Davis).
- Moonlight is a coming-of-age story about growing up in a drug-afflicted neighborhood in Miami. It won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture. Watch on Netflix
- Selma takes place in 1965, in an Alabama city that became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (played by David Oyelowo) and his followers held the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, which led to President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- Soul. If you want something lighter, Disney released Soul on Christmas Day. It’s the story of Joe, a middle-school band teacher, whose life hasn't quite gone the way he expected. He soon discovers what it means to have soul.
Read a good book. Here are a few recommendations (according to Goodreads) that shouldn’t be missed.
- Chorine Sky by Mahogany L Browne
- Legacy by Niiki Grimes
- This is Your Time by Ruby Bridges
- Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African Americans, 1619-2019 by Ibram X Kendi and Keisha N Blain
- Julian Bond’s A Time to Teach
- Cicely Tyson Just as I Am
- Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
- The Life I’m In by Sharon G Flake
- Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
Some events to consider:
Feb. 2: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Join in on a conversation with Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire about their book, Four Hundred Souls. Hosted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). For the book, the scholars assembled 90 extraordinary writers to document the 400-year-journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present. Register here; the event is free.
Feb. 5: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. – If you missed Four Hundred Souls discussion or want to hear another, this one will be hosted by the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Get more information here.
Feb. 6: Noon to 1:30 p.m. – Learn how to use probate and other estate records to identify potential slaveholders. LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, who is an author, teacher, lecturer and certified genealogist will share best practices. Hosted by the Smithsonian. Register for this free event here.
Feb. 11: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. – “In Dialogue: Social Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice Race and Medicine." Register for this free event here.
Feb. 12: 6:30 p.m. – Put on your dancing shoes! The Karamuhouse in Cleveland is presenting a Free African Dance Workshop with with Djapo Cultural Arts Institute. Djapo is a Wolof word meaning “come together.” The main focus is to bring individuals from various backgrounds together to learn about their similarities and differences through traditional dance and music. Register here.
Feb. 16: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. – “An Evening with Rev. Jesse Jackson.” Hear from Rev. Jackson’s biographer David Masciotra. Register for this free event here.
Feb. 19: 6:30 p.m. – Line Dancing with the Line Dance King. Register here.
Feb. 23: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Listen in on a discussion about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the economy and the African American community. Join the free event here.
Feb. 25: 7 p.m. – Chicago Children’s Choir will host its annual Black History Month Concert virtually. The choir showcases talents of young people from every zip code in Chicago. Join through a free live stream on the Facebook page or find out more on its website.
(All times listed are EST.)
This is just an example of events you can enjoy at home wearing your favorite cool pajamas. If you have other suggestions, we'd love to hear them. Post them here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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