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Black History Month 2021: 8 Ways to Celebrate

Black History Month events, expressed via a creative portrait of a Black woman mixed with a hand drawn illustration.

Getty Images/Victor_Tongdee

From dance parties to conversations with leading scholars, here are online ways to honor Black history and the pursuit of racial justice during Black History Month 2021.

February is a time to especially focus on, honor, and learn about Black culture, accomplishments, and stories. The theme for Black History Month 2021 is The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. The theme is selected each year by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, an organization founded in 1915 by African American historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Here are eight ways to celebrate Black History Month 2021—all can be enjoyed safely online, and many of these events are free.

Concert Series

NPR Music will celebrate Black History Month with 13 Tiny Desk (Home) streaming concerts by Black artists across genres. The event series starts Feb. 2 with Wynton Marsalis and ends Feb. 25 with Kirk Franklin. For a full schedule of who will be playing and when, click here.

Art Talk

Filmmaker and artist Isaac Julien created a 10-screen, film installation piece about abolitionist Frederick Douglass, called Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass. It debuted in Rochester, New York (where Douglass lived from 1847 until 1872) in 2019, and it has been touring since. Julien will be in a free online conversation talking about this genre-breaking work as well as art education overall, with UC Santa Cruz art professor Jennifer González and independent curator Mark Nash. Feb. 4, 3 p.m. Eastern. Register here.

Dance!

Join dancer and artist Tatiana Zamir for an Afro-Joy Dance party, held online on Feb. 18 from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern. It’s a follow-along class for healing and connection, inspired by Afro-diasporic music and movement. All bodies and experience levels are welcome. Tickets are free, but reservations are a must.

Learn

The National Museum of African American History & Culture has a huge list of programs conducted virtually, and many are free. There’s everything from talks on restorative justice to workshops on how to use courthouse documents to research enslaved ancestors, to art programs for children. Check out the upcoming events here.

Recommended Books

Best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi created a list of 10 Best Political Books of 2020 by Black Women for The Atlantic, which he recommended on his Twitter as a great list to read during Black History Month. We also published a list of independent booksellers to buy books about race from, here.

Resources for Teachers

The Teaching Tolerance website has free resources for teachers, administrators, school counselors and other who work with young people in grades kindergarten through high school. Their materials promote anti-bias education via four domains of identity, diversity, justice, and action. For example, a recent lesson plan shares how to use Amanda Gorman’s poem from the inauguration, “The Hill We Climb,” to teach young people about democracy.

Share Your Story

Members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities are invited to share their stories through the Our Voices documentary project. It is collecting stories both visually and aurally, to show the breadth of the experiences of BIPOC people. Additionally, every Monday in February, Our Voices will be sharing information on “Black Historical figures who we need to talk about -- many of whom we don’t hear about in our classrooms and whose contributions to our history are lost along with the stories, possessions, and records that went along with them. Black History IS American History,” the group writes.

Support Black-owned Restaurants

Among many other initiatives, Apple has partnered with EatOkra, a Black-owned business directory, for curated Apple Maps Guides that spotlights Black chefs and Black-owned restaurants. Use the app to find a restaurant in your community—takeout is always an option during COVID. Read more about this collection, as well as what else Apple is doing to highlight Black-owned businesses and creators, here.

Are you hosting an event? Attending? Share your experiences with us at [email protected].


About the Author

Kathryn Drury Wagner

Spirituality & Health’s Wellbeing Editor, Kathryn Drury Wagner, is based in Savannah. She’s been a contributor to the...

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