All Articles Tagged "black history month"
How did you celebrate black history this month? Now that one of the blackest Black History Month’s in history is drawing to a close, lots of us are trying to savor that extra day. On Instagram, users all over the world have been sharing their favorite historical photos for Black History Month.
And we’ve takenthe opportunity to remember important moments and people in American History, and beautiful snapshots of life the way it used to be — and the way it’s becoming. If you’ve yet to have a plate of soul food, listen to James Brown, or a long look in the mirror to appreciate your role in Black history, check out these amazing photos and celebrate with us.
What’s your favorite photo from Black history in the past or present?
Don’t let Stacey Dash fool you, Black History Month is vitally important. In a country that seeks to downgrade, disregard or outright ignore our accomplishments and our beauty, we need a month (and then some) to acknowledge the brilliance of Black people. And for one reason or another, it seemed like this year the celebration was unavoidable. Check out the moments that made this year’s Black History Month one of the record books.
As told to Veronica Wells
I loved my college experience. And I was adamant about doing something that I loved when I graduated. So when I saw that my university was hiring in the campus’ diversity office, I quickly applied for the job. There are many subcategories and I didn’t know exactly where I would be placed. When I was hired I learned I was going to be in the gender and sexuality division. Cool. I’m a woman. I, like many Black women, identify with being Black before being a woman, but I understand that there are specific issues women, of all races, still face in this world. So I went into it with an open mind.
The work was fine. In fact, I found that I really enjoyed it. There was always plenty to do and the longer I was there, the more ways I began to see and understand the ways in which women are still disenfranchised in our society. And it was good to know I was working to combat some of those attitudes.
But things took a turn for the worst when Black History Month came around.
You might assume that celebrating Black History at the diversity office might be a natural fit, a no brainer. But apparently there is still work to be done. I was still the only Black person in the gender and sexuality division. Go figure. So since I was the only one, I figured someone would want to tap into my expertise when it came to planning the annual Black History Month celebration. After the initial meeting, talking about the date and possible ideas, I didn’t hear anything else about it. The date for the event got closer and closer and still nothing.
Finally, one day, a week before the program was supposed to be held, my supervisor sent me an e-mail asking me to come into her office so we could discuss the program. Being that it was only a week until the program, I knew this was about to be some bulls*t but I tried to have a positive attitude. She told me it was only going to take a minute.
When I walked into the office, she handed me the tentative menu for the Black History Month program. And asked me if any of the listed items were offensive.
I get it, the last thing you want to do is offend the Black community during Black History Month; but I could not believe that as the only Black person in that department, it never occurred to my coworkers to include me in any of the real planning of the event. I wasn’t good enough to plan anything as simple as the playlist but, in an attempt to protect your neck, you want to ask me about the food.
I answered her questions, assured her that there was nothing wrong with the menu and then made my way back to my desk. But the more I was replaying the whole thing in my head, the more I realized I couldn’t let this slide. I went back into her office and asked to speak with her for a minute.
“You know, I’m a bit offended that you only sought my opinion when it came to the actual planning of the Black History Month program. I mean, I am a Black woman, the only one in this office. My expertise on the subject goes beyond food.”
She looked at me blankly while I finished speaking and then said, with little enthusiasm, “Well, you were brought in under the gender and sexuality services.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before continuing.
“There are no other Black people in this department. Why wouldn’t you want someone with the actual knowledge of being Black to plan the program? Furthermore, you and I have had plenty of conversations about intersectionality. You know that being Black and being a woman are not mutually exclusive. There’s more than one way to be a minority.”
She kind of stumbled and fumbled over her words before saying that she would be sure to include me in the planning of the program next year.
At this point, if the diversity office doesn’t understand intersectionality, I don’t know if I’ll even be around next year.
Black History Month doesn’t have to be all Roots marathons and digging for discounted books on Black history. When Beyoncé celebrated Black History Month this year by releasing “Formation” (and giving a Super Bowl performance the world will never forget), she reminded us all that you can do more than the same ol’, same ‘ol to honor your blackness.
If you haven’t taken time out to embrace the month yet, check out these fun ways to celebrate Black History Month in style, at home, with friends or family. Eat good food, watch good TV and think about how far we’ve come. It’s not too late!
Let us know how you celebrated the month. Do you have a family tradition? An annual trip? Whether you spend a day watching films on Black history or plan a trip to another country, we want to hear your story so we can all get inspired for next year!
A colleague sent me an NPR story this afternoon that was tremendously fascinating while also being painful to hear. As she shared it with me, I wanted to share it with you in the hopes that we can all learn something new about our history, and the part Black women played in the advancement of medicine.
Their names were Betsey, Anarcha, and Lucy. They were the women whose bodies were used by physician J. Marion Sims for study and experiment. Trials and attempts that would eventually make him the “Father of modern gynecology.” But as Vanessa Northington Gamble pointed out in the Hidden Brain broadcast, “We can’t forget how that came to be.”
Dr. Sims opened a clinic in Montgomery, Ala. and to stay afloat monetarily, he started doing work on plantations, providing medical care to slaves. But during that time, he came across captive women who had what we now know as vesicovaginal fistula. Gamble called it “an opening between the vagina and also the bladder or the vagina and the rectum, which usually comes after traumatic childbirth.”
Sims decided to do tests on three particular slaves: Betsey, Anarcha, and Lucy. They were painful procedures, sutures done without anesthesia. And while Sims wrote in his findings that the women were eager to have the procedures done because the fistulas left them struggling to work and have babies, as slaves, they didn’t have the option to give consent for such things either way. And when Sims did more and more of these procedures, conducting them in front of groups of medical professionals, the women had no say in being naked and experimented on in front of others.
To make matters worse, the surgeries were not successful early on, tearing, and causing even more pain. Sims did them from 1846 to 1849. Gamble stated that after 30 procedures on Anarcha, “he was able to perfect his technique.”
And such advancements helped him succeed greatly in the medical field. He became president of the American Medical Association and a member of the New York Academy of Medicine. He became a renowned surgeon, and statues were eventually erected in his honor, including ones in South Carolina and Alabama. But knowing the truth behind such headways made in medicine, Gamble believes that the three women, whose voices and thoughts — aside from screams during procedures — were left out of Sims findings, deserve to have people know of their contributions. Muting them “mutes the story that the foundations of modern gynecology are based on the body and the pain of enslaved black women.”
She continued, “He did treat white women. But he treated white women with anesthesia. Sims left – in the 1850s, he left Alabama and moved to New York City for health reasons. And he started a women’s hospital in 1855 there. He gained a reputation as an excellent surgeon. And so that he did treat white women. But the technique had been perfected on the bodies of black women.”
Please, when you have a chance, check out the thought-provoking NPR story below. How do you think Betsey, Anarcha, and Lucy should have their contributions recognized? And what should happen to Sims’s statutes and legacy?
This month may have the honor of being the blackest Black History Month in the history of the holiday. When Carter G. Woodson first established the precursor for this holiday back in 1926 with Negro History Week, we doubt his wildest dreams could have anticipated what it would look like all these years later.
From Beyoncé to Kendrick Lamar, these celebrities have taken a stand for civil rights, Black history and showed everyone what it means to be Black, proud and powerful. And Black History Month isn’t yet over, so we still have plenty to celebrate.
The following stars risked losing fans and upsetting the censors to bring us these moments during this very special time of year, and we’re glad they did.
Did we miss any of your favorite moments from Black History Month 2016? Let us know how you’ve been celebrating our favorite time of year.
President Obama is trending for his interaction with young children. But he’s also pretty popular with the folks on the opposite end of the spectrum. Last week, to celebrate Black History Month, the White House opened its doors to Civil Rights leaders, the King family, young children and more.
106-year-old Virginia McLaurin was among the attendees. When they announced her name she squealed with excitement before bopping up and down. Then, when President Obama asked her if she wanted to meet Mrs. Obama, she moved with much vigor and much excitement.
Grasping both of their hands, McLaurin, a native of South Carolina who moved to D.C. in 1941, told the first couple “I thought I would never live to get in the White House. And I tell you, I am so happy to have a Black president…a Black wife.”
That Black wife line tickled me to my core. Because not only is it obvious that Michelle is Black and has been Black, it’s quite a nice image to see in the highest office of the land.
McLaurin, who will turn 107 next month, says she prays daily for her mind to remain sharp so that she won’t become a burden to anyone. God has certainly been answering that prayer.
Check out the brief but inspiring video from her visit below.
I’ve said this so many times before. We look at Michelle Obama and see a friend, a homegirl. We know and respect the fact that she’s the First Lady of these United States but she’s also Auntie ‘Chelle.
Clearly, based on a recent video from the White House, I’m not the only one who feels like this. One woman, in the presence of the President and First Lady, forgot where she was and hollered out “Heeeeeeey Michelle.”
Realizing that she might have offended Mrs. Obama, the woman apologized.
Watch and see what happens next in the video below.
WATCH: POTUS: "We know it is black history month when we hear someone say 'heeey, Michelle! Girl. You Look so good!"https://t.co/3u36Y3iede
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 19, 2016
For those who can’t watch now, Mrs. Obama told the woman it was fine. And President Obama smoothed things over, making a joke out of all of it. “We know it is Black History Month when you hear somebody say, ‘Heyyyy, Michelle! Giiiirrrrrlllll you look so good!”
Man, we’re going to miss them!
This little girl echoes our sentiments.
Haile Thomas: Thank you, it was an honor.
How did you even hear about the opportunity?
They reached out to me and I’m very glad they came across me in their researching. It was really fun having the people come to my house and interview me and then getting to go to the studio to record the segment at Sprout. I was just excited to have another opportunity to talk about what I do and just spreading the message of healthy eating.
You’re 15 now and so you learned that your dad had diabetes and you wanted to cook healthier for your family…
When I was about eight-years-old he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and really ever since then it inspired my family to look at food and see what we were doing wrong and how to really start fixing our lifestyle.
What made you, at eight-years-old say, “ok, I’m going to take charge of this situation”? Have you always been interested in cooking?
Both of my parents are from Jamaica so cooking and food and really awesome flavor has always been a part of my life, but it was really when my dad was diagnosed that it started to be the main focus for our entire family. It really came from the fact that my mom was looking at the medication that he had to take and it sounded like it would make his condition worse than it already was. So then she said we need to start looking into how food affects our bodies and all together we started looking into all this information. Since cooking was already a large part of our family, anytime there was a meal I’d be right next to my mom, helping her and learning about healthy substitutions and swaps. That whole process was really a family effort.
What historical African American were you matched up with?
Lena Richards, she was a pioneer as someone of color being in the food history and she had the first cooking show as an African American, she’s very inspiring.
So you cooked an original recipe for Michelle Obama, what was that like?
I made a black bean and corn quinoa salad for the First Lady for the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge which is an event the White House has been doing since 2012. I entered that contest and won for the state of Arizona and got a trip to the White House. I was part of this super fancy kids State Dinner and my dish was served among the other dishes that were entered.
Is that dish still a favorite in your house?
Yes, we love the quinoa salad and sometimes we switch it out with brown rice. It’s just a really filling and tasty dish, it’s super simple.
What are the ingredients you are enjoying cooking with these days?
I enjoy being really creative with the dishes I make so I do things like eggplant curry soup, I do pickled tomato soups and I also like playing around with zucchini noodles and carrot spirals. I also created a “tortizza” which is my tortilla pizza with sweet potatoes and mushrooms and bell peppers and barbeque sauce, and it was really good.
Do you want to be a chef and open a restaurant in the future or do you have totally different plans?
I feel like it would be fun to run a restaurant, a small place so cooking can still be enjoyable and not something that’s super stressful. I’d serve smoothies and cool, creative salads and wraps would be sustainable for me because I travel so much for my organization. I definitely see food and cooking as a part of what I’m doing.
What are your doing now?
Currently, I’m studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to be a health coach and I’ll be the youngest one ever, so that will be really awesome. I’ll be able to coach people and do consulting.
Wow, you’re ready to go!
Thank you very much.
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Unless this is your first Black History month, you probably already know that George Washington Carver was known as “The peanut man.” But a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich isn’t the only thing we have to thank African-American inventors for. Lots of the items we use and take for granted every day were brought to us by Black inventors.
From hair styling tools and products that we can’t live without to medical procedures that keep our loved ones around, these inventions and innovations have been some of the most important. With that being said, let’s take the time to be thankful to not only for the great George Washington Carver but a whole host of talented people for the following inventions that changed the world as we know it.
But speaking of delicious snacks, can you guess what other global food favorite was brought to us by an African-American inventor? After you scroll through, leave us a note in the comment section if you managed to guess right!