Photo Taken Inside The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Honoring Black History Month 

February is Black History Month. According to NPR, February was chosen primarily because the second week of the month coincides with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln was influential in the emancipation of slaves, and Douglass, a former slave, was a prominent leader in the abolitionist movement, which fought to end slavery.” This year’s theme is “African Americans and the Arts” which highlights the contributions by African Americans to visual arts, music, cultural movements, and more. This week, we are sharing a few ways you can honor Black History Month, and hopefully discover new institutions, artists, and businesses that you can support year-round.

Educate Yourself and Your Family

If you aren’t already familiar, we would like to introduce you to the National Museum of African American Culture’s Black History Month Digital Toolkit. This is comprehensive online tool available to all in honor of Black History Month. The museum has assigned each week of the month a different arts-related theme (this week is visual arts) and shares exhibition highlights, articles, videos and more. Visit the museum’s main Black History Month homepage for even more content. Of course, for those in the Washington DC area, we suggest a visit this month (and every month – they have wonderful rotating special exhibitions, as well as a variety of community events).

Join a Museum.

Joining a local museum is a great way to show your support for the community and expand your understanding of African American history. There are over 100 museums in the U.S. focusing on Black artists and history – there is likely one in your state. Click here for a comprehensive list of the museums by state. The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center is the oldest independent African American museum. The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY boasts a collection of over 9,000 works, as well as artist residencies and vibrant special exhibitions. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee is an interactive museum with artifacts, videos, and oral histories that take visitors through pivotal moments in history.

Support Black Artists & Artisans. 

Take the opportunity this month to find a new favorite local or small black-owned business to support year-round. A few online black-owned businesses we love are CoolCrayations (custom crayons!) owned by Tiffany Henry, Lolly Lolly Ceramics founded by Lalese Stamps, and CeCeFinery, gorgeous handbags and clothing founded by Cecile Essono.

Further Resources

NPR: Here’s the story behind Black History Month

PBS: Celebrating Black Leaders

BAHS 2023 Blog Post: Celebrate Black History Month – Children’s Activities & Black-Owned Businesses