February is Black History Month and this year we're Celebrating African Americans and the Arts.
African American arts have a long history in the U.S. and across the world. Through the years and to this day, they have been stolen and mimicked, and contributions to the larger U.S. culture have not been appreciated or given appropriate credit. Examples of these contributions include spirituals of enslaved peoples, the creation of sweetgrass baskets, the Harlem Renaissance, Blues, Jazz, 1960s Motown, Hip Hop, poets, authors, journalists, and other types of artists.
We believe that their valuable contributions to our culture should be recognized and celebrated. Stop in to browse our Black History Month materials display, or explore our list of staff recommended titles celebrating the indelible mark left by black creators.
To find out more about Black History Month and the history behind this year's theme, check out these resources:
ASALH is itself part of African American History treated, as Carter G. Woodson often said, as “a negligible factor” in American and world history. While he labored with a singularity of purpose, Woodson did not work alone. His co-workers at the Association were many, ranging from college presidents and government officials, to celebrated poets and philosophers, to everyday folks in rural hamlets. To explore the history of ASALH is to glimpse a people’s strivings, their institution building. To bring that history to life in one’s imagination is to walk with giants.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by an Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 40,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution.