Green America Celebrates Black History Month

Submitted by bbennett on

The 1st of February signifies the commencement of Black History Month, a time to honor and emphasize the importance of learning and celebrating Black history and culture. This year’s theme is “African Americans and the Arts.” While Black History Month takes place in February in honor of the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, the observation is a call to engage in a deeper understanding of Black history – one that highlights the entirety of the Black community and culture and subsequent infinite contributions to the world beyond the simplified study of only a few vastly known heroes. 

Black History Month began in 1926 as a week of education and recognition initiated by Carter G. Woodson, co-founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). His call to spend a week invested in a full education of Black history was met with an overwhelming supportive response. This week of pinpointing the significance and value of acknowledging the past as well as supporting the present and future of the Black community was extended into a month-long event in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.  

“There is no American history without African American history.” This statement by Executive Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center Sara Kaplan embodies why the month’s call to action for widespread public education on Black history and culture is so important and points to the critical failure of both the American educational system and society as a whole to adequately recognize the history of minority-identified communities – at worst, complete erasure, and often times at best, a misrepresentation of the past so rushed and whitewashed it may be even more harmful.  

An accurate viewing of the history of America reveals the countless (and often unrecognized) ways members of the Black community have forged the past, present, and future of the country. Despite the foundational economic growth traced directly to Black labor – both pre- and post-emancipation – African American workers were only introduced as a category to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1972, 88 years after the bureau’s creation. Black communities battling systemic environmental racism were simultaneously leading many of the fights for positive environmental change and forming the modern environmental justice movement.  

Dr. Danielle Morgan, Assistant Professor at Santa Clara University, pointed to Mike Pence’s 2017 address in which he introduced the beginning of Black History Month with the story of Abraham Lincoln as a perfect example of why the awareness and public call to action incited by this month remains as important as ever: “A month celebrating the accomplishments of Black people was introduced by a vice president celebrating the accomplishments of a white man. I guess even Black History Month isn’t safe from appropriation.”  

The vastness of underrepresented cultural and historical topics within the broad category of Black history Informs the most crucial aspect of Black History Month: it shouldn’t just be a month. Even then, the core message of Black History Month is to inspire continuous education and activism in all areas of life – the classroom, the home, the workplace, and beyond – to cultivate widespread public understanding and recognition as well as repair the disastrous erasure and misrepresentation of Black history. The very fact that Black history is often isolated within an “official” time span not even 30 days long is representative of the issue on its own. 

Holiday background and social justice: 

The Importance of BHM/ NPR 

Black Women Who Made History 

Black History Month: A Legacy of Social Justice  

Why we still need Black History Month in the US  

NMAAHC Celebrate Black History Month 2024 

American Descendants of Slavery: Black Agenda 


Black History Month: At EDA, Equity is Our Number One Investment Priority 

Black History Month: Reflecting on Money Milestones 

African American Workers Built America 

Celebrating Black History Month: The history and future of African-American wealth 

Green America Black-Owned Businesses Greenpages 

The Greenlining Institute 


The Environmental Justice Movement Is Rooted In Black History  

Black History Month: 10 Environmental Justice Groups & Leaders We Celebrate Today—& Every Day 

Environmental Organizations to Support for Black History Month 

What is Environmental Racism? 

In person events: 

DC: Black History Film Festival 

Black History Month Smithsonian 

Historically Black Phrases Live! In DC 

NY: Harlem Chamber Players 16th Annual Black History Month Celebration  

Virtual events: 

BHM: Virtual Festival 

Black History Month: Insights on Tracking African-Diasporan Roots 

Black Open Mic – Black History Month 


The 1619 Project By Nikole Hannah-Jones 

You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays By Zora Neale Hurston 

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story By Elaine Brown 

The Color Purple By Alice Walker 

Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston 

Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison 

The Vanishing Half By Brit Bennett 

The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness By Michelle Alexander  

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