Black History Month

Background

Black History Month originated in 1926, when famed activist, writer and preeminent historian Carter G. Woodson influenced the American Historical Society to designate the second week of February as “Negro History Week.” Black History Month is now celebrated every February in recognition of the immense contributions of Black/African Americans. 

Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to our continued journey towards a better society, and to understanding ourselves and to growing stronger as a community. 

The theme for Black History Month 2024 focuses on “African Americans and the Arts”.

Proclamation

Mayor Mary Lou Pauly will issue a proclamation at the Feb. 5 2024 City Council meeting. 

Local Events

  • January 28: African Americans in Cinema In celebration of upcoming Black History Month, film historian Lance Rhoades takes a look at the long history of Black cinema in America, onscreen and behind the scenes, Hollywood and independent, from the silent era to the present. Free event at the Issaquah Library 2:00 – 3:30 pm, sponsored by the Friends of the Issaquah Library.  
  • February 1: Elevating Voices Exhibit The City of Bellevue Diversity Advantage Team in partnership with Onyx Fine Arts Collective and MG2 invite you to attend a reception celebrating the opening of a month-long art exhibit at Bellevue City Hall featuring art from Pacific Northwest Black artists on Thursday, Feb. 1, from 6-8 p.m. in the Bellevue City Call concourse. The public is invited to gather for a night of food, art, music and conversation as we celebrate the historic and present contributions and accomplishments of Black voices. Exhibit will be available for the month of February at the Bellevue City Hall.
  • February 24-25: The City of Issaquah in partnership with Onyx Fine Arts Collective invites you to The Art of Freedom exhibit on Feb 24-25, 2024, 10am-4pm at the Issaquah Community Center. The Art of Freedom art exhibit celebrates the great cultures of Black American history through the arts.

Community Organizations

  • Mission Africa is a non-profit organization that empowers families in Washington State and in villages in Africa through education, healthcare, & poverty alleviation.
  • African Americans Reach & Teach Health Ministry (AARTH) provides training and capacity-building for faith, community-based organizations and medical institutions serving people of African descent.
  • Professional Women of Color Network is a business resource for all professional women of color in the Pacific Northwest to collaborate and empower.
  • Seattle Black MBA is a network for African American professionals creating economic and intellectual growth for African American communities.
  • Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle works in education, employment, health and housing with disenfranchised African American communities.

Educational Resources

  • Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) provides an article regarding the historical context of the 2024 Black History Month theme African Americans and the Arts
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture uses art as a platform for social justice and celebrate Black History Month with a digital showcase.
  • The King County Library System has curated a list of books to celebrate African American history, culture and explore contemporary issues.
  • The Northwest African American Museum's exhibitions and programs feature the visual arts, music, crafts, literature and history of African Americans in the Northwest.
  • BlackHistoryMonth.gov highlights a series of federally funded virtual discussions, book talks and other online events as well as resources to learn more about Black History Month.
  • The Library of Congress website contains numerous exhibits, books and programs related to Black History Month.