Celebrating Black American History

Celebrating Black American History

“Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history. It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans … how those experiences have shaped & challenged & ultimately strengthened America.” — Former U.S. President, Barack Obama

By: Christen Bourgeois Date: January 30th, 2023

2023 BLACK HISTORY (Theme: RESISTANCE) #BHM #BlackHistoryMonth

Join HIPRC in celebrating Black American History by learning and reflecting on the achievements, influences and legacies of our fellow Black Americans. Each year, communities across our nation rise together in celebrating Black American History with respect to establishing safe and equitable spaces, where all Black life will continue to be sustained, fortified, respected and honored.

Why February?

February is Black History Month. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Black History Month Colors & Flag

The official colors of Black History Month and its flag are red, black, green and yellow:

  • Black represents the melanated skin color of Africans or people of African descent.
  • Yellow represents optimism, justice & equality for all people.
  • Green symbolizes Africa’s rich greenery & other God-given natural resources.
  • Red symbolizes the excruciating bloodshed people of color underwent during the battle against slavery, racism & colonialism.

“Black Resistance” in our Past, Present & Future. 

The 2023 theme of Black History Month, “Black Resistance,” explores the fight for justice against discrimination, bodily autonomy and self-determination in American society, from employment to education to housing.

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Black History Month recognizes how “African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings since our nation’s earliest days.”

As we rise together in celebration of Black achievement, it is also important we take stock of where systemic racism persists and give visibility to the people and organizations actively creating change in our world.

Learn more about the origins of Black History Month >>

// Care & Support //

Public Health – Seattle & King County – Racism is a public health crisis: the transformation starts here. It starts with us.

UW Medicine’s Affinity Groups meet quarterly to provide a supportive space to talk, be heard, connect, and celebrate community engagement through antiracist work >>

In parallel with UW Medicine’s Affinity Groups, a NEW Series of White Anti-racist Groups (WAG) provide an explicit opportunity for white colleagues who want to stand in solidarity with and support BIPOC colleagues >>

Use this Black Virtual Wellness Directory to connect with a Black therapist, doula, yoga teacher, mediator or other virtual provider!

Supporting Black-owned businesses – this month and all year long – is an easy and effective way to show solidarity with Black entrepreneurs whose products and services deserve patronage! To start, visit the Whole U, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle Black Business Directory, Seattle Good, or Intentionalist for names and locations of Black-owned businesses in throughout the Greater Seattle area. Sweet Bonus: Check out these six local Black-owned bakeries or grab a cup at Black Coffee Northwest >>

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s Center of Excellence for Integrated Health Solutions provides resources and tools to help your organization improve its person-centered, recovery-oriented and equitable integrated care. Learn more >>

44 Mental Health Resources for Black People Trying to Survive in This Country was published by SELF magazine to provide a helpful list of mental health resources that offer support, validation, and celebrate Blackness!

Mental Health Resources for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)

// Educational Resources //

The Story Behind Black History Month and why it’s celebrated in February (NPR) >>

The University of Washington’s Book Store encourages readers to grab a copy of these books beyond Black History Month and other published works >>

Check out these books by Ralina L. Joseph, Director for the Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity (CCDE):

Take a look at this Anti-Racist reading list curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Antiracist >>

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 >>

28 Days of Black History: A virtual exhibition of 28 works that celebrate Black legacy in the U.S., offering an introduction to a moment in Black history exemplified by the art, literature or artifact featured for the day >>

National Parks Named in Honor of African Americans: There are more than 400 national parks across the country of different shapes, sizes, naming designations, and reasons for being created. African American history is preserved and shared in many national parks with some being created as monuments to remember specific individuals in our nation’s history >>

Safe States is celebrating the achievements and contributions of Black public health pioneers. Each Monday during the month of February, Safe States will share a short video via its YouTube Channel to highlight the contributions of different Black pioneers and reflect on the importance of celebrating Black history. Watch Now >>

Safe States invites you to learn more and share in the history of Black History Month. Check out these educational resources >>

UW Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity (CCDE) is working to combat our mourning with a celebration of the lives of so many lost recently to needless violence. We come together in community to celebrate the lives of our Asian/American communities in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, and Tyre Nichols in Memphis. We celebrate life because we have no answers for racialized violence. Instead, we offer poetry as salve. Josh Griffin, poet, intellectual, and day-to-day, the CCDE’s program manager, is sharing his beautiful “Ode to Tyre” to help us celebrate, and not just mourn. Please take a listen >>

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has a number of upcoming virtual events exploring Black history and culture. Its new digital initiative, the Searchable Museum, has multimedia narratives, collections and various educational resources >>

American College of Surgeons (ACS) Celebrates Black Surgeons and Their Achievements with a NEW Book entitled “Black Surgeons and Surgery in America” >> FREE PDF Download for ACS Members >> Also available to purchase online at the ACS Store

// Community & Events //

OPENING RECEPTION 'we sense, we remember, we rest, we dream: We Black, We Surreal' with works by Ariana Benson, Bereket Adamu, Brea, CHARI, Darryl DeAngelo Terrell, LaNia Sproles, Le'Ecia Farmer, Nahom Ghirmay, Ronald Hall, and SAMAR

OPENING RECEPTION: we sense, we remember, we rest, we dream: We Black, We Surreal
Thursday, June 29, 2023
5:00pm PT
This Group Exhibition will remain OPEN through Saturday, July 22, 2023!
For gallery hours & more information, visit: UW College of Arts & Sciences >>

Henry Exhibition from Nina Chanel Abney
October 1, 2022 – March 5, 2023
See website for hours & admission
Head to the Henry Art Gallery for an exhibition of Nina Chanel Abney’s work, “Fishing Was His Life.” Abney’s work includes paintings, prints, and large-scale murals with themes of politics, race, sexuality, and celebrity. Her gallery exhibition includes recent collages and new paintings centering the culture and commerce of fishing within the African American community >>

ASALH Virtual Black History Month Festival
Throughout February
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 >>

Call to Conscience Black History Month Museum
Throughout February
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 >>

UW Athletics Celebrates Black History Month
Throughout February
UW Athletics is hosting several events, sharing student-athlete stories and inspiration and honoring community members. During this month’s campaign, you can read or watch stories about heroes and role models or attend an upcoming game that will honor Black Staff and Coaches Group, UW Black Staff Affinity Group and the Black Faculty Group >>

4th Annual Black-Owned Business Excellence Symposium
Wednesdays, February 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd
9:00am – 4:00pm PT
UW Tacoma, William W. Phillip Hall (attend in-person or virtually)
This Symposium will be a kick-off event for Black History Month and a host for other workshops and trainings throughout the month of February to build and extend efforts in connecting with Black-focused business groups and entrepreneurs >>

Black Feminism Reimagined: In Conversation with Jennifer C. Nash
Attend this all-day lecture series, sponsored by Sponsored by the Benjamin Rabinowitz Endowment in Medical Ethics, Program on Ethics, and Department of Philosophy, University of Washington. Panel and presentations include Loving Critics on Intersectionality, Narrating Womanhood and the Black Birthing Experience, and more >>

Black Architects & Community Agency Building with Purpose
Saturday, February 11th
11:00am – 1:00pm PT
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
Celebrate Black architects and their visions for current and future design within the Puget Sound region. When the community speaks, they want architects to listen and create livable environments that maintain neighborhood character. Join this discussion with architects, cultural placemakers, and artists as they envision intentional and equitable development that is shaping our evolving communities.
Learn more & register today >>

Understanding Suicide & Mental Health Disparities Among Black & African American Communities in Integrated Care
Thursday, February 16th
2:00pm – 3:00pm ET
Join the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s Center of Excellence for Integrated Health Solutions for an office hour session discussing the history of B/AA experiences in health care, exploring the existing disparities that impact mental health and substance use challenges, and sharing helpful strategies for advancing equitable and integrated care to improve health outcomes for B/AA communities >>

Black History Month Keynote Program
Thursday, February 16th
6:00pm – 7:30pm
Northwest African American Museum (NAAM)
NAAM will hold an in-person riveting conversation with Dr. Damion Thomas, Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Curator of Sports. Be inspired, informed, and ignited for action >>

It Takes a Village: Addressing Behavioral Health Disparities in the Black Community
Thursday, February 16th
11:00am – 12:30pm ET
In honor of Black History Month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is hosting a Virtual Roundtable. Featuring panelists with lived experience, community leaders, and non-traditional practitioners, the roundtable will highlight the often untapped cultural resources and innovative programs that celebrate Black culture and history and promote recovery and resiliency in our communities >>

Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) Keynote Program
Thursday, February 16th
6:00pm – 7:30pm
Join us as we celebrate Black History Month! NAAM will hold an in-person riveting conversation with Dr. Damion Thomas, Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Curator of Sports. Be inspired, informed, and ignited for action >>

Black History Month Research & Writing Workshops
Workshop #1: Open to High School Students (in-person or virtually)
February 15th
3:00pm – 6:00pm
Workshop #2: Open to College Students
February 22nd
2:00pm – 5:00pm
The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) is partnering with UW Libraries’ Special Collections to offer a FREE research scavenger hunt and writing workshops for (both) High School and College students during Black History Month. UW Faculty will provide instruction on how to conduct archival research and utilize the UW Libraries’ Special Collections Virtual Reading Room. Both workshops will be hosted from the UW Libraries’ Special Collections classrooms >>

A Proud Heritage: An African American Family History Event
Saturday, February 25th
9:00am – 2:00pm
Tacoma Family History Center
For African Americans, finding your ancestors can be especially challenging. To celebrate Black History Month, the Tacoma Family History Center is hosting a FREE genealogy workshop designed specifically for individuals with African American ancestry >>

Book Launch: Stayed on Freedom
In his new book, Stayed on Freedom: The Long History of Black Power through One Family’s Journey, University of Washington-Bothell Professor and historian Dan Berger provides the life stories of Zoharah Simmons and Michael Simmons, two unheralded Black Power activists who dedicated their lives to the fight for freedom >>

Designing with Intention: Three Generations of Black Architects
Thursday, February 28th
7:00pm – 8:30pm
Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) Atrium
860 Terry Ave N, Seattle WA, 98109
Join three generations of Black architects in the Pacific Northwest for an in-person discussion on their work, inspirations, challenges, and hopes for the next generation. This in-person event is FREE to attend (donations are encouraged).
Grab your tickets today >>

#RadicalListening Session on Black Capitalism
Thursday, March 2nd
6:00pm – 7:30pm
Join the UW Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity (CCDE) for a virtual discussion on Race, Business and Black Autonomy in Seattle, and beyond!
Register for the Zoom link >>

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