Black History Month

February 2024 – Perspectives during Black History Month 

In 1976 President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month “to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.  

In 2024, the month is an opportunity for more than historical recognition. Individuals and organizations celebrate various aspects of culture, highlight challenges, and propose solutions.  

We won’t tell you how to celebrate  Black History Month, but we will note that over 16% of Black Americans report having a mental illness, and adult Black individuals are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than adult White individuals.  

That statistic underscores the importance of breaking the stigma and expanding services in the Black community, so this February we will be sharing resources and stories with the power to heal. If you’d like to share, please send us a message 

 

Quiet Week During Black History Month 

One interesting idea we want to highlight this week comes from the BIPOC ED Coalition that does amazing work in prioritizing well-being and helping the restless get the rest they need to lead – and stay healthy. You can read the full article here, but here is an excerpt:  

Beyond traditional ways of lifting up Black History Month—public events, education and celebrations—there is a growing conversation among Black-bodied people about taking a quieter, more introspective approach to the month. This perspective seeks to create space for Black people to emphasize the personal and restorative aspects of Black History Month. It invites us to explore our lived journeys and truths on our own terms, without the pressure of public performance or the need to package our stories for wider consumption. 

This call for a “Quiet February” has been circulating and gaining traction in liberatory spaces in the Black community. It is important to affirm that a Quiet February doesn’t diminish the significance and beauty of public Black History Month events. Yet in this world of systemic racism and ongoing injustices, increased self-care is an essential need—an urgent need—for Black people. 

Go check out the other great articles on bipocedcoalitionwa.org like this Love Letter to Black Women Leaders, and bookmark their page – especially if you are involved with nonprofits or interested in BIPOC advocacy.   

Resources & events 

Find resources and community organizations led by or built for the black community. This is a working list of local and national groups, sources of information, and local events this month. There are a lot of organizations doing great work that we probably missed. Please feel free to reach out and let us know who they are.   

Local, black-led nonprofits and services  

For black-owned businesses, check out this directory from the Northwest African American Museum 

Africans on the Eastside (AOE) 

AOE is an ad-hoc group comprised of parents, youth scholars, community members and grassroots organizations who have come together to actively address the impacts of institutional racism and racial inequity, particularly on the east side  

Black Heritage Society of Washington State  

The Black Heritage Society of Washington State documents the culture and heritage of Black people statewide, and advocates for saving places to uphold the notion that Washington State history is an essential link in the broader narrative that defines the story of our nation.   

CHAMPS Resource & Service Center  

CHAMPS provide access to comprehensive resources and services through to those living in poverty by bringing community together in one common place. 

Feed the People  

Feed The People is a community-focused, black-led organization operating a community kitchen and youth development programs for the love of food 

Nurturing Roots  

Nurturing Roots is a community farming program focused on educating youth & community members on healthy food choices. Creating community through gardening.   

Ta’alem Community Center  

Ta’alem Community Center (TCC ) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to motivating our youth of color. They serve the community by providing support in mentorship, tutoring, and skill set activities.  

Health education & resources 

Schomburg Center 

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture provides education on African American history, books and movies, Black history education and many online workshops including: computer learning classes, writing groups and STEM Labs. 

BlackPast.org 

The Black Past provides information on the history of African American presence around the world. The website includes access to historical biographies, a digital archive, education and programs, and media. 

 

Local events  

 

Bellevue City Hall art exhibit celebrating Black History Month 

In celebration of Black History Month, the City of Bellevue, in partnership with Seattle architecture firm MG2 and Onyx Fine Arts Collective, is presenting the exhibit “Elevating Voices,” featuring the work of 17 Pacific Northwest Black artists.  

The community is invited to an opening reception for the exhibit on Thursday, Feb. 1, 6-8 p.m., at City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE. Registration is requested.  

 

Seattle – February 1-28: 2024 Call to Conscience Black History Month Museum – Rainier Avenue Radio has converted the Columbia City Theater into a museum for the entire month of February, featuring exhibits and installations by various organizations and artists.   

 

Seattle – February 3: Museum of Flight presents The Life of Bessie Coleman: First African-American Female Aviator in the side gallery from 1-2 p.m.Experience a unique historical reenactment of the life of the world’s first African-American female to become a licensed pilot in the 1920s. Through a dynamic performance by Bessie Coleman’s great-niece, Gigi, hear about her many accomplishments in the field of aviation.  

 

Seattle – February 7: Seattle Opera and Town Hall Seattle present A Conversation with Tamara Payne at 7:30 p.m. The event will also be live streamed. Tamara will talk about her biography, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X. In 1990, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Les Payne embarked on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who actually knew Malcolm X. Tamara Payne is Les Payne’s daughter and served as his principal researcher.  

 

Seattle – February 13: United Way of King County presents Advancing Racial Equity: Revisiting Dr. King’s Lost Speechfrom 6-7:30 p.m. at Rainier Arts Center. Join us to celebrate Black History Month and for an evening of advancing racial equity in King County. Come, listen, learn, and take action! Explore excerpts from one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches, a treasure discovered in 2008. Our panelists include Colleen Echohawk, Jorge L. Barón, Marcus Boston, and Gordon McHenry, Jr.  

 

Seattle – February 15: Northwest African American Museum presents Black History Month Keynote with Dr. Doretha Williams from 6-8 p.m. Dr. Williams will be joined by her family history team from the Smithsonian Museum. She’ll discuss Black family history and genealogy. Dr. Williams’ presentation honors NAAM’s tradition of hosting a Smithsonian scholar for Black History Month.  

 

Bainbridge Island – February 17: The BIMA Black History Month Soiréeis a time to come together and celebrate Black culture with a night filled with music, art, and a special pop-up group of vendors from Seattle’s Black Love Market. Indulge in a night of dancing while shopping Black-owned businesses and enjoying live music and performances. Grab a drink from the bistro, hit the dance floor, and surround yourself with community. From 6-10 p.m. at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.  

 

 

UW Bothell – February 17: The Black History Month Storytelling Gala takes place in the Activities and Recreation Center at UW Bothell from 1-4 p.m. This event will be from 5pm-8pm on February 16th, 2024 in the ARC Overlook. This event will be broken into three separate activities per hour. The first hour will be an art gallery walk provided by Clamor (literary art journal) and student work. Next there will be a time for storytelling to share Black success stories. Lastly we will have a dance party celebration with catering from a black-owned business. This event is formal attire.  

 

Auburn – February 17-18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: The Black History Month+Vendor Market are at The Outlet Collection in Auburn. This year’s event will celebrate artists of all kinds throughout February. For the entire month, explore displays featuring local artists’ works, along with educational exhibits that honor the 2024 theme highlighting prominent black artists. Additionally, enjoy a two-weekend vendor market featuring small and local black-owned businesses.  

 

Seattle – February 21: The Downtown Seattle YMCA presents Stamped from the Beginning, a thought-provoking journey that spans centuries, shedding light on the deeply rooted issues that have shaped the racial landscape in the United States. This documentary is a crucial watch for those seeking a deeper understanding of the historical forces influencing the ongoing struggle against racism. There will be viewings at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. No RSVP is required  

 

Seattle – February 24-March 9: Seattle Opera presents X – The Life and Times of Malcolm X at McCaw Hall.