15 Stories for Black History Month
Black History Month starts today — the first BHM since the loud calls for social justice this past summer. The murder of George Floyd in 2020 catalyzed a national reckoning on race, with many questions still to be answered and much progress still to be achieved. In a special CircleAround series, we asked writers to explore the topic of race in America from a variety of perspectives.
* Being Biracial: "Being biracial is its own realm of purgatory — you are never quite white enough to be white and never Black enough to be Black, and as such, there is not often a real sense of community or belonging for us."
* Michelle Obama: Nia Dennis' Gymnastics Routine Was 'Fierce': " 'This routine, I believe, is a reflection of everything that I am as a woman today,' said the gymnast. 'I picked a lot of really influential artists — Black artists that had a huge impact on the Black community'."
* ACLU Elects Black Woman as President for First Time: "Deborah Archer, a professor at New York University School of Law with expertise in civil rights and racial justice, was announced on Monday as the first Black person to take on the role of president in the organization's 101-year history. The announcement came on the first day of Black History Month."
* Tackling Racism from Within: "On April 16, 2018, police arrested two Black men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square. Their so-called crime: sitting in the coffee shop for a business meeting and asking to use the bathroom without having made a purchase. The incident was captured on video and quickly went viral, prompting protests against one of the country’s biggest brands. Building on that moment two witnesses to the arrest launched a blossoming nonprofit to bring conversations about race and racism out into the open and to cultivate a commitment among Americans to participate in hard conversations across racial lines."
* To Be Black, Female, and a Business Owner: "Overwhelmed. Sad. Hopeless. Shocked but not surprised to see this horror show playing out once again, I went into mourning. That’s the only way I can explain it … mourning. Not just for George Floyd, but for all the Black men I know. I mourned the innocence of my sensitive, smart, fun little Black cousins who will eventually have to have 'the talk.' I mourned the mothers of Black teenage boys who are terrified every time their sons leave their home. I mourned my unborn Black children."
* 5 Books by Black Female Writers You Need to Read: "An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones: Celestial and Roy are a young couple in love who see their life blown up when Roy is arrested and imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Emotional, raw, and gut-wrenching, we highly recommend reading this one with a friend. You’re going to want to discuss all the feelings this will dredge up."
* She Went from Living on Welfare to Helping People Pursue Their Dreams: “ 'I grew up in a mixed-race, blended family that lived on welfare. I saw firsthand the effects of raising a family in poverty and the challenges of getting out of that cycle.' Inspired by her own experiences, this woman now helps clients who might not otherwise be able to afford help to grow their business."
* This Doctor Is the First Black Woman to Head Neurosurgery Department at Detroit Hospital: "It's statistically proven that Black women have a high risk of heart disease and strokes. They are much more likely to die from childbirth and breast cancer than white women, which happens, in part, because white and male doctors have tended to dismiss the health concerns of people of color. Having more people of color, specifically Black women, could help combat that."
* Here's Why 'OITNB' Fans Need to Watch Netflix's 'Amend: The Fight for America': "The 14th Amendment was initially carved out to grant citizenship to those who were previously enslaved; it has since become a road toward equality not only for the Black community in America but also for other minorities, such as women and members of the LGBTQ community."
* What I Learned from the First Black Self-Made Millionaire: "In a nation where Blacks were historically disadvantaged and heavily oppressed before the civil rights movement, I love how Walker was able to defy the odds to pursue her dreams. Born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, she was the fifth child in her family and first to be born free."
* How to Talk to Your Immigrant Parents About Black History Month: "I actually have cousins in Pakistan who have gone through skin-lightening procedures so they could have better luck in the love department. And unfortunately, it did help, which perpetuates the issue even further."
* Celebrating Black History Year-Round: "For Black History Month, we 'celebrate' Black people for one month, and then for the other 11 months of the year, it’s business as usual — with knees on necks. This does not feel like real progress or celebration to me. Instead, I wish BHM was approached from a more integrated perspective."
* 27 Kids' Books for Black History Month — and All Year Long: "When children of color see themselves represented in books, they learn that people who look like them matter, and that they are seen. When that story is also told by someone who looks like them, they know that the person behind the story is someone like them, too, who has a shared experience. As children’s author Tina Athaide explains, 'It is firsthand storytelling.' "
* How Amanda Gorman Inspires Me as a Young, Black Female Writer: "Hearing that poem, after the nation witnessed a series of unsettling events that took place in that same location not too long before the inauguration, was the breath of fresh air myself and so many others needed."
* Mental Health and Wellness Resources for Black Women: "During Black History Month, it’s important to not only celebrate Black lives after a year like no other, but to also prioritize personal well-being now more than ever. This list of five Instagram mental health and wellness resources for Black women can help women of color (and others) recharge, refresh, and explore new and healthy ways to self-care and celebrate yourself."