10 things you can do to honor Black History Month

February 4, 2021

Because the movements for environmental justice, racial justice, and social justice are intimately intertwined.

(Please see 2022’s page for more things to do)

Black History Month happens in February, and here at Stand.earth, we’re all-too-familiar with the ways in which the environmental movement is intimately intertwined with the movements for racial and social justice. To honor Black History Month, here’s a list of 10 things you can do to celebrate Black art, Black music, Black activists, and Black history — this month and every month.

  1. Explore digital programming from museums and societies.
    The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture and the British Columbia Black History Awareness Society are both offering digital programming for Black History Month. There are activities for kids, online exhibitions, and panels on a variety of topics — including Black migration and British Columbia, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the African American community. 

  2. Learn more about the founder of Black History Month. 
    Carter G. Woodson is known as the “Father of Black History.” Woodson was an author and historian, and he also founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He created Black History Month based on his belief that young African Americans should be taught more about their own heritage and the achievements of their ancestors.

  3. Work with your business or organization to honor Black History Month.
    The NAACP offers guidance on “What brands can do on MLK Day and Black History Month.” Suggestions include signing the Equal Pay Pledge or One Million Jobs Campaign, becoming a corporate member of your local NAACP, or providing sustaining support to a local social justice organization.

  4. Celebrate the history of Black music.
    This month, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts will feature 13 concerts by Black artists across genres, including both emerging and established artists. There will also be weekly curated playlists coinciding with the themes of jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and more.

  5. Join Antiracism Daily for their 28 Days of Black History.
    Sign up to receive the 28 Days of Black History newsletter that will be delivered straight to your email inbox, every evening in February. The content includes an introduction to a moment in Black history, discussion questions to guide conversations, and action items to dismantle anti-Blackness in your community.

  6. Watch films with positive storytelling about Black lives.
    “Hollywood is full of movies about slavery, segregation, and the Black struggle, and while these films can serve as important educational tools — especially during Black History Month — it is important to step back and remember that films about trauma are not the be-all and end-all of Black entertainment,” writes PopSugar. Check out their full list of 28 films to watch during Black History Month that aren’t about Black trauma.

  7. Learn more about the real history of slavery.
    USA Today has an extensive roundup of books and movies for kids, adults and teachers — to help everyone go beyond the watered down versions of history that are often taught in school. Or check out this list of books about racism for adults and kids — including nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

  8. Take a virtual tour of a museum exhibit.
    CNN writes that Google Arts and Culture allows for gallery goers to take virtual field trips and enjoy online experiences through more than 80 partner institutions, including the Civil Rights Movement Exhibit, the Frederick Douglass Exhibit, and the Hewitt Collection of African-American Art.

  9. Gain more tools to talk about racism. These articles will help you learn more about how to talk to your friends and family about racism and white privilege, and what systemic racism means and how you can help dismantle it. The Washington Post’s six-part series, “George Floyd’s America” examine the role that systemic racism played throughout Floyd’s life, uncovering the institutional and societal roadblocks he encountered throughout his life.

  10. Invest in Black artists & businesses in your community.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportinately affected minority communities, with Black-owned businesses more than twice as likely to shutter as their white counterparts. Ask around to find out about the Black-owned restaurants, artists, accountants, and physicians — you name it! — in your community, and figure out how you can best support them. You can also check out this list of 125 Black-owned bookstores in America.