Three Ways to Honor Black History Month This Year

Celebrate African American voices and educate yourself on Black history during February and beyond.

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Photo: Alan Karchmer

Black History Month takes place every February in honor and celebration of the contributions African Americans have made, and continue to make, to society. Pay respect to the Black community during February—and every other day of the year—by learning about African American history: Visit historic landmarks, read Black stories, and educate yourself on the leaders and movements that have shaped the nation. Ahead, find several meaningful places and books to help you do just that.

Visit a museum.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture, which officially opened to the public on September 24, 2016, is the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The Washington, D.C.-based museum honors African American life, history, and culture through its documentation and display of over 36,000 artifacts. The current exhibit, "Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies," is on view until August 21, 2022, and celebrates leaders from Frederick Douglass to Stacey Abrams. The 4,300-square-foot exhibition explores Reconstruction with over 175 objects, 300 images, and 14 programs that illustrate the rebuilding era following slavery from the African American perspective and the connection to principles found in the Constitution today.

Read a meaningful book to your children.

Read The 1619 Project: Born on the Water ($13.41, to a child. In this picture book by Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones and Newberry winner Renée Watson, an African American girl traces her family tree for a school project, however, she only finds information on three generations from her lineage. The story follows the journey of her grandmother gathering the entire family and teaching her about her ancestors, who had their own language, homes, and land, that were taken from their homeland and brought to the United States by white slave owners over 400 years ago. In addition, the young student learns "how the people said to be born on the water survived."

Tour a historic trail.

Take a walk through Boston's Black Heritage Trail to see the nation's oldest African meeting house and first public school for Black children. The African Meeting House, which dates back to 1806, is the oldest existing Black church building in the United States. This building, constructed by free African American artisans, has served as a church, school, and community gathering space. The Abiel Smith School, founded in 1835, features exhibits and education programs that teach about abolition and equal education.

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