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Why We Celebrate Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of the contributions and achievements of Black Americans and an opportunity to recognize their integral role in American history. It’s a time to more deeply understand the complex history of the nation and how we will continue to progress toward justice.

Black History Month Theme for 2023

In 2023, the theme for Black History Month is Black Resistance. This theme honors and recognizes the resistance of historic and ongoing oppression of Black Americans. Themes for Black History Month date back all the way to 1928 (before it was even called Black History Month).

Black Resistance  

Black Resistance, established by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The ASALH is the organization founded in 1915 by historian, author and educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is also known as the father of Black history. Black Resistance can take many forms, including seeking knowledge about our histories (both during and post-slavery and genocide as well as pre-slavery and genocide), partaking in the arts, driving political action, challenging racist medical practices, supporting Black authors and entrepreneurs, and even taking up space by honoring and making visible our histories, communities and cultures through celebrations.   
How We Can All Honor and Celebrate Black History Month

How We Can All Honor and Celebrate Black History Month


Black History Is American History, Black History Is Relevant To All


Activism happens in the Senate and in the streets, but it also happens at our kitchen tables or on FaceTime. Embrace the weird, vulnerable feelings and have important conversations with the people in your lives.
Direct them to helpful resources to learn more about Black history, call them in and talk about why language matters, and discuss why they might support certain political candidates. These conversations do change minds and hearts, even when it feels easier to avoid them.
We do understand that this often takes a lot of emotional energy, so be sure you feel confident and comfortable with your boundaries when you engage with folks who might be more willing to pick a fight than learn something new. 


If you can’t make it out to a museum, look no further than the virtual information hubs from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum hosts a virtual Searchable Museum, where you can explore a number of exhibitions and stories — all from the comfort of your own home.


So much of modern music is built on Black history. Whether you’re a fan of jazz, hip hop, or even rock ‘n’ roll, you can thank Black musicians and culture makers for the tunes you hold so dearly.
Click Here to explore unique collections at the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) which contain unique materials documenting a wide range of topics and musical genres.


Black Movie Day is an annual event that celebrates accomplishments by and seeks to support Black film. In 2023, Black Movie Day is on February 18. 
To celebrate, you can:
Watch a Black movie in theaters that day.
Watch Black movies at home between 6 a.m. and midnight on February 18.
Donate to the National Black Movie Association, which sponsors a student attending an Historically Black Colleges and Universities majoring in a film profession.
Join the conversation on social media. Use hashtags #NationalBlackMovieDay #ISupportBlackFilms.


These 10 African-American authors represent the most distinguished voices that have attempted to creatively journey through the African-American experience over the course of history. From Nobel Prize winners such as Toni Morrison to double NAACP prize winners such as Maya Angelou, each writer has contributed distinctly to create the African American literary canon.


In an article titled Five Ways to Celebrate Black Joy, Michelle Lawrence reminds us...
“Although there is no way to avoid the hurt and pain we have experienced...we need to uplift Black joy and insist on more moments of trauma-free Blackness to celebrate ourselves and to heal our hearts, bodies, and souls.”
What Do The Colors of Black History Month Represent?

What Do The Colors of Black History Month Represent?

Black History Month text inside of a hear with red, yellow, and green swirled.
Four colors commonly represent Black History Month: black, red, green, and yellow. Black represents the resilient people who we honor and affirm; red symbolizes the blood of innocent Black lives lost throughout history; green symbolizes the rich natural resources of Africa, and yellow represents optimism, justice, and equality for all.
Attend a Black History Month Event

Attend a Black History Month Event

Illinoisans come together every February to recognize Black History Month with events, special exhibits, concerts and shows. Enjoy Illinois provides this mix of virtual and in-person events and activities, so you can immerse yourself in African American culture and education in every region of the state! Choose Chicago has a list of ways to celebrate in the Chicago area!
“Although there is no way to avoid the hurt and pain we have experienced...  We need to uplift Black joy and insist on more m