February is such a wonderful month! Love is in the air, my youngest son’s birthday, and Black History Month.
Black History Month is not just a time for African-Americans to celebrate the accomplishments of their sisters and brothers, but a time for everyone to take a moment to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the African-American community.
As a family, we try to take part in several activities throughout the state. This year, I asked my boys to pick the activities they thought sounded most interesting. So, here are some kid-approved ways to celebrate Black History Month!
1. Watch Black Panther
This was by far the most popular choice for my boys! Black Panther premieres February 16th and is set to break box office records. It is a story about T’Challa (Black Panther) who returns home after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, and takes his rightful place as king of the technologically advanced, but isolated African nation.
This movie stars a whos-who of top Black actors, and is also directed by a Black director, Ryan Coogler.
2. Go See Crowns
Crowns is a gospel musical playing at Lyric Theatre February 7-25. This musical showcases six African-American women celebrating life through gospel music and their “crowns”, which are the gorgeous hats many African-American women wear to church.
3. Jazz It Up
One of the hidden stories of Oklahoma is its rich jazz history. To help celebrate this heritage, the Metropolitan Library is offering multiple opportunities to attend Oklahoma is about……….”All That Jazz”. This is an journey exploring early jazz in Deep Deuce, jazz in Greenwood, Tulsa, and the contemporary jazz scene.
4. Meet Nikki Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni is an acclaimed poet and author of several children’s books, including Rosa and Lincoln and Douglass. She will be speaking at OU on February 8th at 7 pm. Her topic, “Racism 101” is based on her book of essays touching on all sides of the topic.
5. Learn About the All-Black Towns in Oklahoma
Ever hear of Grayson? Bowley? How about Rentiesville? These are all all-black towns right here in Oklahoma. Did you know that from 1850-1911 Oklahoma had more all black towns than any other state in the Union? You can find out more about the rich history of these towns and many others at “Before the Land Run” at the Metropolitan Library all this month.
6. Visit Black Wall Street
Did you know that an area of Tulsa was named Black Wall Street by Booker T. Washington? During the oil boom of the 1910s, Black Wall Street was born. It housed several prominent African-American businesses until 1921, when the Tulsa Race Riots destroyed the area. Now you can visit the Greenwood Cultural Center to learn more about Black Wall Street.
7. Hear Emmett Till’s Story
Wheeler Parker Jr. will be a guest lecturer at Oklahoma Christian University History Speaks Lecture Series. You may not recognize Mr. Parker’s name, but you probably know his cousin, Emmett Till. On February 19th, Mr. Parker will discuss his first hand account of the tragic chain of events that led to his cousin’s death at the young age of 14.
8. Write About Your Inspiration
The OKC Thunder is sponsoring the Black Heritage Creative Contest. Children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade can submit a drawing, painting, essay, photograph, sculpture, or poem representing an African-American who has been influential in their life. Top prize is a $500 gift card and tickets to a game!
9. Take a Road Trip
If you’re in the mood for a road trip, visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. This museum takes you on a powerful journey from slavery, to Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, President Barack Obama, and beyond.
February may be the shortest month of the year, but it is packed with awesome opportunities to experience both the well-known and little-known African-American history of Oklahoma and beyond.
What are some ways you celebrate Black History Month? Share your ideas with us!