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5 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Black History

With February just a few days away, you may be wondering what you can do to appropriately and meaningfully celebrate Black History Month. There is no shortage of articles and blogs on the Internet with hundreds of ideas, some better than others. But, here are five easy and meaningful ways for you to consider.

1. Reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (or other Black leader)

Dr. King is undoubtedly one of the most quotable figures in history and one of the greatest orators. However, many are quick to post a quote from Dr. King on social media or reference a well-known speech without actually understanding what he believed in and how he viewed the world. Dr. King had complex views and deeply held beliefs about poverty, education, labor and violence in addition to his stands on civil rights.

Reflecting on something or someone assumes that one has knowledge of the subject or the person as a starting place. Here is a recent episode of our series "She Steeps" in which the women at My Cup of of Tea reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and it's impact on their lives. Then consider visiting the King Center website to learn more.

2. Buy (and read) a book from a Black author

This suggestion is simple enough. Visit a Black-owned bookstore in your area or order from one. Here is a list of Black-owned bookstores from last year. If there is not one, then consider visiting our friends at Novel. The genre doesn't matter, it's the perspective you want. Wondering where to start? Here is a list from Good Housekeeping and another from Penguin Random House. You might even consider inviting a few friends to read and discuss the book with you.

3. Donate to the National Civil Rights Museum

The National Civil Rights Museum located in Memphis, Tennessee is universally regarded as the nation's premiere heritage and culture museum dedicated to the sharing the history and lessons of the American Civil Rights Movement. The museum is on the site of the Lorraine Motel, the location of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian. If you haven't visited, you should, but even if you can't, consider making a donation. The museum is a not-for-profit that relies on grants and donations. Here is a link to give.

4. View a Digital Exhibition from the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is located in our nation's capitol. The museum opened in 2016 and boasts more than 36,000 artifacts. The online exhibits allow access to the history and culture for those who can't get to Washington, D.C. Consider turning off the TV and your kids' video games and sharing some time exploring NMAAHC.

5. Eat at least once per week in February at a Black-owned restaurant

Restaurants have struggled during the pandemic, especially independently owned ones. According to the National Restaurant Association, only about 8% of restaurants are Black-owned and some estimates suggest that more than half may not survive the pandemic. If you don't know how to find a Black-owned restaurant in your area, here is post from the Today Show with some suggestions.

These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of ways you can celebrate and recognize Black History Month. Each one of these can make a small difference and open our minds to the truth that Black history is American history.