A Breakdown of Local Events and Historical Black Figures to Commemorate During February
The month of February brings thoughts about romance and love and celebrates Black American history while highlighting the accomplishments of past and present Black Americans. It is a time of cheer and acknowledgment for the evolution of Black Americans within America.
“BHM was founded by Carter G. Woodson’s Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1926. Then it was Negro History Week. It was founded by Black people, not the government. That alone is important enough,” says Dr. Joshua Myers, Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Howard University.
“Black communities supported the celebration. Black institutions supported the celebration. And the whole point was to celebrate the study of Black history that had taken place that entire year. It was not the month (or week) devoted to the study of Black history. It was about commemorating what you would already learn,” he continues.
Black History Month brings along special traditions and events to celebrate the resilience and strength of past and present Black Americans. It is a month-long recognition of the struggle of Black Americans throughout the decades.
“I participate in many of the celebrations around the community, sometimes as a speaker. I am a member of the Association, so I try to support the official celebrations and commemorations that they put on,” Dr.Myers says.
Local Black History Month Events
There are multiple BHM-themed events that take place within the DMV area throughout February. Most events are free and some require ticket purchases to attend; however, all are welcome!
The 2023 Virginia Black History Month Gala
When: February 24-25
Where: Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
The Virginia Black History Month Association is hosting a hybrid gala celebration that features a health fair, panel discussions and entertainment. The event will also have awards for contests and scholarships. Tickets are available online now.
Association for the Study of African American Life and History Annual Luncheon
When: Starts February 1
Where: Virtual event
Each year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History hosts a month-long series of events to celebrate African American history. The theme of this year’s event is “Black Resistance” within the Black Press, the Arts and the Black Church. In addition, the group hosts an annual BHM luncheon.
The Ivory & Cream Affair Literary Jazz Brunch
When: February 25
Where: Rosensteel Hall
The Annual Black History Month Literary Weekend is celebrating its seventh year! The event connects literature with Black history to create an evening full of fun and learning. This year’s event will feature Marita Golden, Lisa McNair, Michelle Knight and more Black authors. Tickets are on sale now.
Black History Month Comedy Experience
When: February 11-26
Where: Arcade Comedy Theatre
If you can travel during February, The Arcade Comedy Theater in Pittsburg is throwing together several shows to inspire happiness and connect artists and audiences through laughter. The shows will feature stand-up comedy, storytelling and improv. Additionally, Arcade Academy will offer two comedy workshops during the month.
Library After Hours: Create & Celebrate Black History Month
When: February 3
Where: La Plata Branch
Charles County Public Library is hosting an after-hours library event in which there will be giveaways, learning lessons and raffle tickets! The purpose is to celebrate local Black business owners and artists. The event is free but limited, so registration is required. It is also recommended for people 16 and up.
If you find yourself free during February, try to attend an event or honor local Black Americans who better the community. Furthermore, teach your children about Black American history with fun trivia questions or interactive lessons.
“I think we probably should move away from celebrating individuals and to think about history as the history of groups and communities. In that vein, perhaps people should commemorate the work that people are doing on the community level in Jackson, Mississippi. I hope to see [BHM] return to its community roots and away from its corporate and capitalist co-optation,” Dr. Myers says.
Overall, it is essential to remind the Black youth of the struggle Black Americans have faced in the past and continue to face today. The younger generation has to understand the fight for a true equilateral America to become a part of it. Black Americans have defied the odds in many ways and continue to do so.