Black History Month (also known as African American History Month and Celebration of the African Diaspora) began as Negro History Week in February of 1926. Fifty years later, President Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976 as a month-long national observance occurring in February.
Each year, communities across our nation rise together to celebrate Black History with respect to establishing safe and equitable spaces, where all Black life will continue to be sustained, fortified, respected and honored. As we reflect what it means to be Black in this country, let us focus our actions and interactions on our responsibility to bring about change.
How did it begin?
In February of 1926, U.S. Scholar Carter G. Woodson (also known as the “founding father of Black history”) established Negro History Week.
Woodson, the son of formerly enslaved people (Anne Eliza Riddle Woodson and James Henry Woodson), worked as a coal miner while pursuing his education, culminating in becoming the second African American to earn a PhD from Harvard. In 1912, Woodson launched the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) to create educational curricula and share the achievements of African Americans.
“Education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.” — U.S. Scholar, Carter G. Woodson
In 1926, Woodson started Negro History Week to share Black history and celebrate both culture and accomplishments. The weeklong celebration expanded to a month in 1976 and continues to be a time to reflect on the contributions Black people have made to the world. It is also a time, as is every month of the year, to focus on the impact of systemic, structural and institutional racism and the continued need for social justice.
Today, the United States, Canada and United Kingdom celebrate Black history during the month of February to encourage people of all ethnic and social backgrounds to recognize and discuss systemic racism, the Black experience and give visibility to people and organizations creating change in our communities, and world. In the month of February, we also celebrate African American contributions in the arts.
In celebrating the entire history of African Americans and the arts, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) puts into the national spotlight the richness of the past and present with an eye towards what the rest of the twenty-first century will bring. Learn more about Black History Month themes >>
A recent article by THE LANCET analyzed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirming the disproportionate rate of interpersonal violence (IVP) targeting Black Women 🖤 Read Racial inequities in homicide rates and homicide methods among Black and White women aged 25–44 years in the USA, 1999–2020: a cross-sectional time series study and other educational articles below:
Courses & Projects
American Heart Association – Black History Month “Be the Beat” CPR Playlist >>
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Voices of Freedom: Elevating Black Voices
Read Mentorship for Black professionals, earbuds not included, published by the UW College of Arts and Sciences. The article features UW alumni, Tiana Cole and Brad Blackburn III, who have spoken with Black civic leaders, broadcasters, business owners, educators, nonprofit directors, and other successful professionals about their careers — including how race has factored into their journeys. Stream their unfiltered conversations on Identity Unboxed.
Check out this TED Talk playlist in celebration of Black History Month to be inspired by thoughtful ruminations on Black identity and culture. Prefer to just listen? Here’s a Black History Month Playlist of podcasts >>
BlackPast – THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT TIMELINE, 1905-1975 >>
While Black History Month is a time for celebration, this is an important time to remember to practice self-care, focus on our well-being and health:
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African-Americans are 30 percent more likely to die from Heart Disease. The NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have digital downloads with tips to improve Heart Health:
Seattle Met – How to Celebrate Black History Month in Seattle
Readings, performances, and exhibits on Black History fill this month with reflection and learning. Explore, connect, and attend an event >>
Seattle Magazine – Seattle’s Guide to Black History Month
Celebrate Black culture, history, and community through February and beyond. Attend an event >>
2024 Guide to Black History Month Events in Seattle
Let’s celebrate the contributions of the African American community by attending a Black History Month event in Seattle. February is filled with dozens of interesting events throughout the city —art exhibitions, workshops, discussions, storytelling, and more. Attend an event >>
(VIRTUAL or IN-PERSON)
LANGSTON Seattle Black Film Festival
Thursday, April 25 – Sunday, April 28
Stay tuned for full schedule!
Two locations: Langston Hughes Performing Art Institute and Washington Hall, Seattle Central District
Enjoy films, premieres, parties, and talkbacks! Featuring the intimate and personal documentary Jewelle: A Just Vision; films by Northwest Film Forum’s Netsanet Tjirongo: Savi the Cat and Vanishing Seattle: Queer the Land; and the first ever Sudanese film at the Cannes Film festival, Goodbye Julia. Passes on sale now >>
(VIRTUAL or IN-PERSON)
Amplifying Voices and Building Bridges: Toward a More Inclusive Future
Monday, March 18, 2024
5:30a – 3:00p (PT)
The National Archives, 701 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
FREE >> Registration is required for both virtual and in-person attendance
(A recording of the event will also be posted on the NIMH website)
As part of its 75th Anniversary celebration, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is hosting a symposium to bring together people living with mental illness, clinicians, and communities. This gathering will reflect on past and present challenges in mental health research and chart a more inclusive path forward. Hear from health equity, sociology, psychiatry, and public health experts. Key themes will include: Inclusion in Research; Disparities in Health and Access to Care; and Diversity in the Mental Health Workforce. Mental Health Equity remains an unmet goal. The hope of NIMH is that research will move us steadily toward that goal! Learn more & register today >>
98th Annual ASALH Black History Month Festival
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) will hold a virtual festival all month long, celebrating the Black History Month Theme, Black Resistance in the past, present and future. Attend author talks, social justice workshops and more. Learn more & register today >>
2024 Call to Conscience Black History Month “Pop-up” Museum
Columbia City Theater, Seattle
This February, Rainier Avenue Radio will be converting the entire Columbia City Theater into the Call to Conscience Black History Month Museum. The museum will celebrate the achievements and the achievers of the Pacific Northwest while recognizing the Black excellence that shines in the region today. It will feature exhibits and installations by organizations like the Black Heritage Society of Washington, Tacoma’s Buffalo Soldier Museum, and BlackPast.org. Get tickets >>
365 Black – One Community United in Blackness: A Celebration of Working While Black
Series meets (virtually) February 2024 – June 2024
The National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) is launching a monthly learning and action series for Black individuals receiving, working in, and advocating for premier mental wellness for Black youth, young adults, families, and communities. Blackness and Black voices will be centered and amplified! This event is open to those who are sincerely excited about celebrating Black Lives and Black Brilliance. Allies who are committed to LISTENING and learning are welcome to attend. Meet the facilitators & register today >>
Black Children’s Book Week
February 25, 2024 – March 2, 2024
Black Children’s Book Week is a global celebration of Black children and the people who ensure Black children are represented in books and other children’s media. The week is administered by Black Baby Books, a platform that makes it easier to discover children’s books with Black characters. Parents, guardians, authors, illustrators, publishers, educators, librarians, business people, community advocates, and other advocates for Black children are welcome to join the celebration! Learn more about how you can celebrate >>
Webinar Series: Serving Black Women Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
Day 1 // Tuesday, February 27, 10:00a – 12:00p (PT)
Day 2 // Thursday, February 29, 10:00a – 12:00p (PT)
Black women-identified survivors have been disproportionately harmed by the triple pandemics of COVID-19, intimate partner violence, and racial injustice. As a field, we must boldly design and create innovative approaches to service provision. This two-part webinar series will give advocates the tools and practical strategies to identify, reach, and effectively serve this population. Presented by Dr. Carolyn M. West. PhD of UW Tacoma and Doris O’Neal of YWCA King County. Register & learn more >>
LANGSTON Seattle Black Film Festival at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA)
Sunday, February 25
2:30p – 5:30p (PT)
BIMA Auditorium, Bainbridge Island
LANGSTON Seattle in partnership with Living Arts Cultural Heritage is proud to bring its Seattle Black Film Festival to BIMA for an afternoon of thought-provoking short films, one feature length film, and a post screening discussion. Get Tickets >>
2024 Atlantic Street Center Annual Black History Month Celebration
Saturday, February 24
11:00am – 3:00pm (PT)
Atlantic Street Center, Seattle
Join us for a FREE vibrant celebration of Black History Month at the Atlantic Street Center. Immerse yourself in the rich culture, music, and traditions of the African American community. From captivating performances to thought-provoking exhibitions, this event promises to be an unforgettable experience! Come celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Americans throughout history. Learn more >>
Advancing Better Health Through Better Understanding: Community Narratives, Visions, and Actions
Thursday, February 22
11:00am – 12:00pm (PT)
U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) Join OMH for a webinar discussion focused on leveraging lessons learned from the COVID-19 response to enhance community-based interventions that support vaccine confidence for other respiratory illnesses within Black and African American populations (e.g., influenza, RSV, pneumococcal diseases). This virtual roundtable is an opportunity to delve into the value of community-based interventions to promote health equity within Black communities. Register today >>
African Americans and the Arts: HBCU Edition – Art and Healing
Friday, February 16
11:00am – 12:30pm (PT)
Join Intellor Events for an inspiring exploration of art’s role in healing and mental health awareness. Download and share the 2024 Black History Month flier with your network – this virtual event, tailored for the Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) community, promises to be enlightening and empowering. Register today >>
Advancing Racial Equity: Revisiting Dr. King’s Lost Speech
Tuesday, February 13
6:00pm – 7:30pm (PT)
Rainier Arts Center, Seattle
United Way of King County has brought together a lineup of panelists to discuss a speech from Dr. Martin Luther King that had been lost for decades until it was discovered on acetate film in 2008. Panelists include Colleen Echohawk of Eighth Generation, King County Councilmember Jorge L. Barón, and Glover Empower Mentoring’s Marcus Boston with United Way of King County’s Gordon McHenry Jr. serving as moderator. The Rhapsody Project will also be on deck to perform for the audience. RSVP today >>
(VIRTUAL or IN-PERSON)
5th Annual Black Owned- Business Excellence Symposium: Helping to create a More Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Washington state
Wednesday, January 31 – Friday, February 2
See event schedule for times.
This multi-day movement builds on and extends many efforts to build connections with and between Black-focused business groups and entrepreneurs while exploring the economic framework that is necessary to close the racial wealth gap. We will foster a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding reparations and the potential pathways toward racial healing and justice TOGETHER. Event details >>