SWLAW Blog | Diversity
February 9, 2021
Celebrating Black History Month
Dear Southwestern Community,
February is Black History Month! Black History Month specifically honors the contributions of African-Americans to United States history. Black History Month is the brainchild of African-American educator, historian, publisher, and scholar Carter G. Woodson, who grew frustrated with the underrepresentation of Black people in conversations that shaped American history. Former President Gerald Ford officially recognized this celebration in 1976. Since then, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. This year’s theme is Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History sets the theme annually.
We would like to acknowledge, while we specifically honor our Black community members, peers, and colleagues in the month of February, it is of the utmost importance to uplift and celebrate our Black community year-round.
It is critical to deepening our knowledge of the history and contributions of Black Americans and people of African descent. We acknowledge that the untold stories of many have been excluded from the mainstream because of our country’s legacy of slavery and its continued consequences of institutional and structural racism. In honor of Black History Month, we can learn more about these untold stories and celebrate the many accomplishments made by Black Americans throughout history.
Ways to Celebrate Black History Month
1) Virtually visit the Museum of African Diaspora (film screenings, art openings, performances, book launches, and more!).
The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity”, explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States. See Calendar of Events.
2) Learn about 35 phenomenal women everyone should know about this Black History Month.
3) Watch “John Lewis: Get in the Way.”
The first major documentary biography of the civil rights hero, congressional leader, and champion for human rights whose unwavering fight for justice spans over fifty years. You can find where to stream this documentary here.
4) Attend the Smithsonian’s zoom webinar - “Men of Change: Taking It to the Streets” exhibition by the Anacostia Community Museum, Washington.
Men of Change explores American history through the contributions of figures like James Baldwin, W.E.B. DuBois, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Ryan Coogler.
5) Watch “Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” the story of the rise, influence, and evolution of HBCUs. Now streaming on PBS.
6) Read Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams. Abram’s activism efforts have been widely credited with boosting voter turnout in Georgia, including in the 2020 presidential election.
7) Learn about The Creative Collective NYC’s Second Annual Creative Class, Celebrating Black Culture-Shifters.
The Creative Collective’s overall mission is to provide spaces for individuals of color and amplify talent within the community, The Creative Class list is designed to showcase the efforts of groundbreaking Black leaders, as marginalized voices are just now finally being heard and deserve recognition.
The Dean of Students and Diversity Affairs Office