6 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month
Celebrating Black History Month is one way to honor and center the voices and perspectives of Black students. Black college students' history and perspectives are too often devalued and erased. Given that colleges play an enormous role in expanding social consciousness and promoting social and civic engagement among students, finding ways to celebrate and engage in Black History Month is important.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Black History Month celebrations may look a little different than they have in previous years. Here are six ways to observe Black History Month in 2022.
Visit an African American History Museum
Some cities have dedicated museums to African American history. For example, Washington, D.C., is home to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Other areas may have museums with exhibits about African American history and art. Many of these museums and exhibits chronicle Black History and give viewers an opportunity to learn about important periods like the civil rights movement and the Jazz Age.
Additionally, many museums may have special tributes to historical Black figures like Rosa Parks and Malcom X. Here's a list of the top Black history museums and cultural centers.
Watch Black Movies
Historically, African Americans have been largely sidelined in both television and film. In the majority of popular movies, Black people are not the center of the story. Viewing Black cinema is an educational opportunity, as well as a chance to support Black movie directors and production companies.
Many popular streaming services like Hulu and Netflix add Black movies and shows to their catalogs during February to celebrate Black History Month. Check out this list of 12 Black films to watch during Black History Month.
Attend or Support a Black History Month Event
Many schools host Black History Month events during February. Celebrations are often planned by Black student unions on campus. You can contact your school's Black student union to see if it needs assistance with planning an event, or with promotion, marketing, or funding. Supporting Black History Month events are a great way to meet other Black students on campus, and show your support for Black students, faculty, and staff.
Donate to an HBCU
An HBCU is a historically Black college or university. These institutions play a critical role in educating Black students and activists, and dismantling racial injustice. However, many HBCUs lack traditional revenue sources that other types of colleges benefit from. As a result, they may face an added disadvantage when it comes to paying for new academic programs, athletics, and buildings on campus.
In 2020, MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, donated over $500 million to various HBCUs. You can donate to an HBCU by going directly to a school's website. And you don't have to be an alumnus to donate to an HBCU.
Listen to Black Podcasts
In the U.S., podcasts have become increasingly popular over the past several years. They are a great way to gain information and discover new perspectives. In 2021, over 55% of the U.S. population listened to a podcast, with most listeners aged 25-44.
Historically, the majority of podcasters have been white, but with the advancement of technology, podcasting has become more accessible. Supporting a Black-owned podcast is a great way to help creators increase viewership and podcast ratings. Black podcasters talk about a variety of subjects, including pop culture, travel, and business. Check out this list of 10 enthralling Black podcasts for college students.
Support Black Businesses
Black businesses are critical to the economic and social vitality of Black communities. They also help to generate intergenerational wealth. However, Black businesses often face challenges in building customers, sustaining revenue, and successfully marketing products.
If you are hosting an event on campus, consider hosting a Black vendor fair that showcases local Black businesses in your neighborhood or hiring a Black catering company to provide food. Check with your city's department of commerce, your local NAACP chapter, or this list of Black business directories to find Black businesses in your area.
Celebrating and honoring Black history is a great way to pay tribute to African Americans and help rectify the harm done by centuries of anti-Blackness on campus. Black History Month is an opportunity to understand the stories of Black Americans as something more than a history of racism and strife. It's a time to recognize their undeniable impact on our country and culture.
This year, let's continue to make Black History Month a significant celebration on all college campuses.
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