What is Black History Month?
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by the Black community and a time for recognizing their central role in history. Dating back to 1915, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by the Black community. It has since evolved from an organization, to a week-long recognition, to what is now known as Black History Month.
When is Black History Month?
Black History Month is celebrated annually during the month of February. Each year, a theme is assigned to Black History month to help give the month a specific focus. The 2023 Black History Month theme is Black Resistance. This theme explores how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression in all forms. Learn more about this year’s theme here.
Notable People in Black History
Harriet Tubman helped hundreds of American slaves escape via secret route known as the Underground Railroad; Rosa Parks made history by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus; Martin Luther King, Jr. Helped shape the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s through non-violent social means; W.E.B. Du Bois was a writer and political activist and the key founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Interested in learning more about other important people from Black history? Check out this link for more information! Black History Month Biographies
Famous Black History Month Quotes
“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.” - Maya Angelou
“If you fall behind, run faster. Never give up, never surrender, and rise up against all odds.” - Jesse Jackson
“The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” - W.E.B. DuBois
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” - Harriet Tubman
10 Black History Month Activities for Virtual Celebration
Recognizing and celebrating employees’ racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds can be effective in building psychological safety and employee engagement — which is why it is so essential to create spaces where people can engage with intersectionality, build community, and lift up all voices. As a distributed team, we understand the struggles of finding virtual ways to engage our employees, so we’ve created this list to help!
Here are our top ten virtual black history month activities and team-building games centered around recognizing and celebrating BHM:
1. Support Black owned businesses
Cost: $$, $$$, $$$$
Support Black owned businesses this Black History Month by Building your own care packages from Bifties.com - featuring products from Black owned brands - to send to your employees. You can also provide stipends for employees to enjoy lunch from one of their local Black owned restaurants. EatOkra is a great resource for finding Black owned restaurants in your area.
2. Add Black History facts/trivia into meetings agendas, slide decks, etc.
Adding a fact or trivia question at the start of your meeting is a great way to break the ice and get employees engaged from the start. Try incorporating some facts or trivia from Black History this month. Here are some great resources:
> Little Known Facts About Black History
3. Hire a speaker or Diversity Expert to host an education workshop/seminar
While not all organizations may have the budget, hiring a speaker or diversity expert to host a
workshop or seminar is a very impactful way to teach not only Black history but also to teach
companies how to embrace diversity and inclusion. Check out the links below for a list of Black History Month speakers:
> Penguin Random House Black History Month Speakers
> AAE Black History Month Speakers
4. Feature a Black author or related literature during the next book club read
Cost: Free, $
An office book club is a great opportunity to build a positive company culture within your organization, especially with distributed teams. There can be very limited opportunities to connect while working remotely; a book club is a great way to come together as a team, engage with other employees, and even offer opportunities for employee development.
Consider reading one of the titles listed in the links below to focus on and support Black history.
Here are some book suggestions for your next read:
- The 1619 Project, by Nikole Hanna-Jones
- The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris
- Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
- But Some of Us Are Brave, by Akasha (Gloria T.) Hull, Patricia Bell-Scott and Barbara Smith
Looking for more options? Check out the below Links!
> 20 of the Most Essential Books on Black History
> 32 Books to Honor and Celebrate Black History
5. Send out music, podcast, and art recommendations
A great low-cost way to celebrate Black History Month is by sharing the love of Black Culture and media. Share a playlist featuring Black artists or send out recommendations for Black podcasts or art exhibitions. Check out these links below to find your inspiration:
> Black History Month Apple Playlist
> 10 Must-See Exhibitions by Prominent Black Artists
6. Promote Employee Resource Groups
If you don’t currently have any ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) in your organization, Black History Month is a great time to put focus on the creation and implementation of these groups. ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with their organization.
ERGs are comprised of members with shared characteristics such as Gender Identity, Ethnicity, Age, Religious Affiliation, and other shared interests. Some of the main goals of an ERG are: Improving work conditions for alienated workers, making the physical work environment better for everyone, bringing employees together in a safe place, identifying and developing leaders, tackling company-wide frustrations, and lowering the chance of suppressed frustrations. You can learn more about ERGs here.
7. Hire Luna Park
Cost: $, $$
You can create your own games and run the experience on Zoom or Celebrate Black History Month virtually with us at The Luna Park Show. We’ve created an incredibly fun and educational game show hosted by professional comedians on a platform purpose-built for an interactive game show. Players will learn fun facts about notable people throughout Black history and enjoy the company of their coworkers in a relaxed, fun environment while they’re at it.
Reach out to us on our contact page to book an event!
8. Host Black History Month Trivia
Cost: Free, $, $$
Hosting a trivia event is a great and engaging way to learn more about Black History in your organization. Create your own trivia questions and set up a game on Zoom, or utilize some online platforms such as Trivia Maker or Bar None Games.
Wanting to try your hand at creating your own trivia event? Check out a list of trivia questions to get you started if you are creating your own trivia: 20 Black History Month trivia questions.
9. Give back to relevant causes
Cost: $, $$, $$$, $$$
Making donations is a great way to support the Black community this February and throughout the year! Consider providing employees with their own stipend to donate to a cause of their choosing, or have the team vote collectively on one cause to make a donation to. Here is a list of some charities that could use your help:
10. Virtual Tours
While you may not have the budget for a company off-site tour, you can take advantage of virtual tours online! There are so many benefits of a virtual tour besides just cost savings! You have the freedom to visit from anywhere at any time. This will help accommodate everything in your organization, no matter the time zone.
Many virtual tours have zoom-in options and 360-degree views of the exhibits, allowing you to be immersed in the art as if you were really there. Another benefit of virtual tours is the time saved from waiting in lines! You’ll always be first in line when attending a virtual tour.
> National Museum of African American History and Culture Online
> Oakland Museum of California – Black Power
> African American Museum of Philadelphia – Through His Eyes
> Google Arts and Culture – Black History and Culture
Black History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the Black community and their important role in shaping history. We hope these team-building activities would help you in celebrating Black History Month successfully.