Kent, Ohio. Home of Kent State University and the birthplace of the first-ever celebration of Black History Month. It was 1969 when a few black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University proposed the basic ideas that led to today’s national celebration. It was less than a decade before President Gerald Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history.”
Over 52 years later, we hold the accomplishments of these Black Americans in high regard. At JazzJune, we are incredibly thankful to all of these men and women who have labored tirelessly to bring America where it is today and affirm that “Black History is American History.”
To help you commemorate this Black History Month, we wanted to share a few of our favorite resources, quotes, and book recommendations. We will be updating this post throughout the month of February so be sure to return each Monday for new resources, information and inspiration.
- JazzJune was founded on the belief that a strong education is the foundation of a prosperous society. Check out these 50 African Americans Who Forever Changed Academia, paving the way for global education reform.
- This piece from the New York Times explores whether we expect too much from Black heroes during Black History Month looks at who gets left out or left behind in studying only milestone moments.
- Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has assembled a comprehensive digital resource library that can be accessed here.
- And the Library of Congress has also curated a host of resources marking Black History Month here.
There are many books out there that help us understand Black History in America. A few we want you to be aware of are below.
The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
Becoming – Michelle Obama
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
At JazzJune, we’re working together to celebrate Black History Month to the best of our ability. We are learning and trying to better understand America’s history through the lens of the Black community. It is a privilege to invite you to do the same.
If you’re a leader in your workplace, this is the section for you. One of the most important ways a leader can positively influence their teams is by understanding how diversity and race affect their workplace. Here you can find a few resources that can help celebrate Black History Month in your workplace.
Color Blind Diversity Efforts Don’t Work – Harvard Business Review
What is Tokenism, and Why Does It Matter in the Workplace? – Vanderbilt University
Delivering Through Diversity – McKinsey & Company
In conclusion, we want to leave you with some encouragement through the profound words of three heroic Black Americans.
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington.