Black History Month
February is Black History Month, a celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of Black Americans to society and culture. This year’s theme is Black Resistance: How the movement shaped Black representation, diversity, and identity.
In honor of Black History Month, each week, we will follow this theme as presented by the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) with 5 sub-topics related to this year’s theme. It's an opportunity to understand Black stories, and to spotlight those who have made a difference in our culture and history. We hope that you will enjoy the topic(s) each week.
Additionally, we are inviting Wilde Lake High School students to submit a response (Short Essay, drawing, poem, etc.)
“Anything you would like to share regarding Black Resistance.”
It can be related to the weekly sub-topics or anything else about Black Resistance or something interesting you learned through exploring the NMAAHC website that you want to write or reflect about. Entries are due by Saturday March 4th 6PM via email to email@example.com
Five student contest winners will receive a $50 visa gift card.
To follow along each week as we send out a weekly email with content from National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC ); you can also follow along on PTSA website: https://www.wildelakeptsa.org/
Overview of Black History Month 2023, Message from NMAAHC:
Black Resistance: A Journey to Equality
When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926, he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. In support of this year's theme, Black Resistance, our museum shares key stories to celebrate how African Americans worked collectively to serve and strengthen their communities, often "Making A Way Out of No Way." By resisting, African Americans continue to mobilize resources and shape social movements to create a space for Black Americans to thrive. We invite everyone to join us in exploring the histories of Black freedom movements—from slavery and abolition to other ongoing struggles for civil and human rights. https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/initiatives/black-history-month-2023
Week 1 - A Tradition of Activism
Throughout history, African Americans have taken action to improve their lives and challenge America to live up to its democratic ideals. Working both within and across racial lines, Black activists mobilized to abolish slavery, secure civil rights, fight against injustice, and expand social and economic opportunities. African Americans employed a range of strategies to effect change—including legal battles, mass protests, grassroots campaigns, public debates, and community development. By believing that change was possible, Black Americans changed history. Activists today draw on these achievements and study the lessons of the past in order to develop strategies for the future.
Week 2 - Foundations of Faith
From the first independent congregations established by free Black people in the early 1800s to contemporary churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues, African Americans have built and developed diverse religious institutions. These institutions served the spiritual as well as the social needs of their communities, providing spaces for worship and connection—for fellowship—and establishing networks of care for those in need. Many also served as schools for religious as well as secular education, and as bases for political activism and moral leadership in the struggle for freedom, civil rights, and social justice. Spiritual beliefs and faith practices offered hope and comfort, sustained the will to resist oppression, and instilled values of self-determination and pride.
Explore more here (3 Total Chapters): Foundations of Faith
Week 3 - The Value of Education
Whether enslaved or free, African Americans—like so many Americans—viewed education as the key to changing their status. Communities banded together to build and support public schools. When acquiring an education was illegal, African Americans labored together and alongside white abolitionists to establish institutions of higher learning. After the Civil War, the government laid the foundation for public education for all citizens. However, the end of Reconstruction hastened a return to localized control of segregated school systems in the South; thus Reconstruction's initial progress was soon halted. In 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson solidified the practice of “separate but equal” education. Separate public education for African Americans was limited to elementary schools, which often possessed inadequate facilities. These schools also received fewer and inferior resources, including used, outdated books and audio visuals. Despite these and other obstacles, African Americans sought education—from basic reading and writing to advanced intellectual pursuits—and established colleges and universities to ensure a stellar legacy of achievement.
Explore more here (2 Total Chapters): The Value of Education
Week 4 - The Black Press
The first African American newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, was published in 1827. Ever since, African Americans have used the press to establish an independent voice for Black communities and advance the struggle for freedom and equality. Publishers and journalists challenged racism by exposing injustice, reporting on civil rights activism, and presenting positive images of Black identity and achievement. Black newspapers served local as well as regional and national audiences, helping to foster a sense of community and shared interests among African Americans living in different areas of the country. Publications also reflected the diversity of Black people in the United States and throughout the diaspora. Through a wide range of subjects—political issues, society news, arts and culture, religion, business, travel, and more—the Black press captured and reflected the aspirations, struggles, triumphs, and everyday experiences of Black America.
Explore more here (3 Total Chapters): The Power of the Press
Week 5 – Leaning into Black Joy
At the heart of the Black Joy movement is what many scholars, journalists, authors, and others are describing as resistance, resilience, and reclamation of Black Humanity. Life brings everyone challenges, disappointments, losses, and unexpected difficulties, regardless of race. But when race is added to the mix, the situation is compounded exponentially. When people live in a world that devalues them because they are black or brown, as well as, dismisses their contributions to the larger society, Black Joy is and has been an effective tool that has allowed individuals and groups to shift the impact of negative narratives and events in their favor.