Black History Month is short but Black History in the U.S. is long and deep. Each week in February, you will receive info about local activities, essays, art, and more.

Everything’s better in person (I think!) but there’s so much amazing content online…here are a few links that will lift your spirits!

  • Check out this 2 minute animated love story, part of the StoryCorps series for Black History Month.
  • Crash Course Black American History – narrated by poet Clint Smith – offers 15 minute videos on 52 topics (influential artists, cultural developments, political leaders and more).
  • The Podcast Making Gay History includes this episode on Wendell Sayers – an influential attorney in the ‘40s and gay rights activist in the ‘50s. In the episode, you’ll hear him talk about traveling with his mother from Kansas to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota around 1920 (where he was “diagnosed” as homosexual.) Throughout the drive, he and his mother bought bologna and crackers from roadside stores; they couldn’t eat in restaurants because they were Black.

Black Joy

While it’s important to understand our country’s history of anti-Black racism and its manifestations today, February is also a time to celebrate Black joy and vitality! It has inspired a movement that includes literature, art, parades, and more. Kleaver Cruz, founder of the “Black Joy Project” explains: “Black Joy is not … dismissing or creating an ‘alternate’ black narrative that ignores the realities of our collective pain; rather, it is about holding the pain and injustice…in tension with the joy we experience. It’s about using that joy as an entry into understanding the oppressive forces we navigate through as a means to imagine and create a world free of them.”

The Western Addition

The Western Addition was once called the “Harlem of the West” because of the Jazz clubs that lined Fillmore Street, making it one of the hottest nightlife spots in the country. In the 1950’s – ‘60s an African-American community bloomed here! But by 1969, a federally funded Redevelopment Project displaced almost 2,000 African Americans through the demolition of their homes and businesses along Geary Street. Many Black residents organized, protested, and remained here, while many others went to the East Bay. Today our neighborhood is still a locus of Black culture and leadership: