Black History Month actually started as Negro History Week in 1917. Author, journalist and historian Carter G. Woodson, now appropriately recognized as the “father of black history,” lobbied vigorously for the national recognition of black stories and perspectives. Woodson believed deeply that equality was only possible with the acknowledgement and understanding of a race’s history, and dedicated his life to the study of African-American historical research.
Black History Month should be viewed as an opportunity to spotlight contributions by African Americans, like musicians, artists, writers, poets, inventors, explorers, scientists, business people and soldiers, etc. It should be an opportunity for us all to learn from others who have a different and diverse viewpoint, all with the intent of uplifting and highlighting those who are all unique.
Allow this month to be one where you to educate yourself. I, personally, haven’t done the best in researching in the past, but I want to aim to do better about inclusion and my thinking from now on.
If you live in the Western North Carolin area, below are some options for you to support those who are like neighbors to you. If not, do more research into how you can support black-owned businesses in your area.
Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.Author Unknown
If you are a reader like me, I love to sit on the couch curled up with a good book. Take this time to read a new book that offers insight to one you might not have had before. Target offers a Black History Month section with books by many talented black writers. Below, I’ve listed a few of my personal favorites. There are hundreds to choose from, so get to reading!
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- A Promised Land by Barak Obama
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
WATCH MOVIES / DOCUMENTARIES
Regardless of your background, we can all stand to watch more diverse films, so let Black History Month be the catalyst for committing to taking a look at your movie nightfare. Diversifying our consumption doesn’t just broaden our worldview, it also shows Hollywood that we want to see better Black and BIPOC representation onscreen. It’s all about aligning media with what the world actually looks like. Also, who doesn’t love Remember the Titans?!
- Hidden Figures
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
- The Hate U Give
- The Help
- Remember the Titans
SHOP / EAT LOCAL
- BLACK MOUNTAIN CIDER + MEAD
- SPICE + TEA MERCHANTS
This month, do your own research. Find companies owned by African Americans in your area and make a conscious effort to not only support them this month, but in the coming months and years ahead. We are put on this Earth to learn from one another and to have different viewpoints. The Lord made no mistake in His children precious in His sight.
- Make an ongoing, monthly donation to an organization
- Consciously buy from Black-owned businesses and restaurants
- Continue your self-education.
- Sign petitions online, send texts, make phone calls and attend local events.
How do you plan to support black owned businesses around you? Let’s chat in the comments below!