February is Black History Month, an annual observance that recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of African Americans and Black people in the United States. The tradition of observing Black History Month began in 1926, but the first official observance did not occur until February 1976. Here are some ways that you can celebrate Black History in Houston with your family this month.
Celebrate Black Culture Through the Work of Black Artists:
- Jacob Lawrence was one of the first nationally recognized African American artists, and his paintings documented the African American experience. He painted several series, and his subjects included Toussaint L’Ouverture, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. His work also depicted life in Harlem as well as snapshots from the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
- Romare Bearden was an American artist who created archetypal figures of African Americans. He created different kinds of images by combining oil paints and collage materials.
- Kehinde Wiley is a contemporary artist who is known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African Americans. One of his most famous pieces is his portrait of former President Barack Obama.
Celebrate Black Culture Through Literature:
- Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
- I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes
- The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez
- Black Heroes by Arlisha Norwood, PhD
- When the Schools Shut Down by Yolanda Gladden and Dr. Tamara Pizzoli
Books Specifically Featuring Black Illustrators:
- We Are The Ship, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
- The Cart That Carried Martin, illustrated by Don Tate
- Little Leaders: Bold Leaders in Black History, written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison
- I Am Enough, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
- Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, illustrated by Laura Freeman
Celebrate Black History in Houston:
- Check out the Black Art Houston experience, a celebration of contemporary Black art. This immersive event will feature exhibitions, open studios and cultural events across Houston.
- The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection at the Holocaust Museum Houston will run through the end of June, and celebrates Black American achievements from 1595 to present day.
- On February 17, Levy Park and Young Audiences of Houston will present: Abiyoyo, an interactive performance that compares and contrasts African customs and traditions.
“Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of greatest hits from the March on Washington or from some of our sports heroes. It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America.” -former President Barack Obama
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