If I read one more Op-Ed column, blog, commentary, article, Facebook post, or otherwise about how much people hate Black History Month I am going to scream…oh boy! Let the screaming begin!
Black History Month, for as long as I can remember has always been a staple in my household; whether it was February or any other month of the year, my family has always celebrated Black History Month because we are a Black family, but also because there is always so much to do and learn during this time of year.
Ever heard of the Fisk Jubilee Singers? In 1871, singers from Tennessee’s Historically Black University, Fisk University, introduced the entire world to the “field songs” sang by enslaved Blacks during the institution of slavery. In the 19th century, these immaculate singers traveled and broke racial barriers in the United States and in the world performing for kings and queens. Although these students loved to sing and had a pristine talent for it, they sang to raise money for their beloved institution, Fisk University. Below is a 1909 recording of the Fisk Jubilee singers. 1909 is also the same year in which the NAACP was established.
Speaking of maintaining the tradition of the Fisk Jubilee Singers The Irondale Ensemble Project and the American Opera Projects will perform Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom featuring Metropolitan Opera singer Ms. Janinah Burnett and other reputable opera singers in Brooklyn, NY on February 21st-22nd, the 27th, and March 1st, 2014.
Below is a list of websites that include everything from museum exhibits to historical conversations. There are Black History Month parades to musical performances. Click on any of the links below to find an event for you and your family all along the East Coast. Also, tune into PBS for great conversations featuring the incomparable Ms. Alice Walker and Black History Month themed programming. Enjoy!
No matter how we feel about Black History Month–like the complaints about it being celebrated during the shortest month of the year, or the assertions that during Black History Month the same notable Black people are celebrated year after year, we can never say nationwide and global efforts are not consistently made to pay homage to Black people and our contributions to this world. Black History Month was created by a Black man, Carter G. Woodson, that wanted the world to know that his parents’ toil and labor in slavery had not been in vain and that the spirit and life contributions of the ancestors that they inherited, long before Blacks were even introduced into slavery in America, was worth celebrating and being recognized. In addition, each of us can add to the narrative and contribution to Black History Month beyond our hate for it.