February is Black History Month! It is a time to celebrate the contributions and the history of the generations of African Americans who have paved the way and helped to make us what we are today! Let’s look at some ways to celebrate this heritage month.
Black history month is a great way to educate about the contributions and history of previous generations of African Americans. Today we can find influences from the African American community in many things that we enjoy and use everyday.
Did you know that the process that would lead to vaccination (called inoculation) was brought to America by a slave by the name of Onesimus? Or that one in four cowboys in the Wild West were former slaves made free after the Civil War? Popular icon Betty Boop is inspired by African American singer Esther Jones, known by her stage name Baby Esther.
Through the years, African American inventors, scientists, authors, artists, etc. have deeply enriched our culture and lives. It is important to recognize their contributions and to celebrate the culture that has provided so much to all.
Movies and Shows to Watch During Black History Month
Hidden Figures is the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Three African American female mathematicians who worked at NASA and were the brains behind the successful venture of sending men to the moon in the 1960s. It is available to stream on Disney+.
In this documentary, Ava DuVernay dives into the history of racial injustice in the United States focusing on the disproportion of African Americans in American prisons. This documentary is both powerful and informative and is available to stream on Netflix.
When They See Us
This is an infamous case, the Central Park Five. This case had national attention for 25 years. In 1989, a jogger was assaulted and raped in Central Park. Five African American teenagers were arrested and charged with the crime. The Central Park Five continued to maintain their innocence. Those five young men spent almost their full sentences in prison before being exonerated in 2002. The series follows the whole case from the initial arrest and trial, their exoneration, and the settlement they reached with the state of New York. Ava DuVernay co-wrote this serious and it is also available to stream on Netflix.
This movie follows the career of Jackie Robinson and his integration into Major League Baseball by being signed by the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey. In 1946, sports teams were not integrated, and so by doing this, Rickey and Robinson were targeted by hate from the public, the press, and even the team. Robinson showed courage and dignity by not reacting to the racial hate and letting his talent speak for him.
Remember the Titans
A personal favorite movie of mine. This film starring Denzel Washington is based on the true story of T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. While a lot of the film is given Hollywood flare to increase the drama, there are parts of the story that are accurate to the true story that happened in 1971. It is available for streaming on Disney+.
In this HBO show, Atticus Black goes on a search for his missing father. With his Uncle George and friend Letitia, the drive across 1950s Jim Crow America. This show portrays the oppression and difficulties of life for African Americans during this time.
Celebrating Black History Month in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio has multiple events planned to celebrate Black History Month. The San Antonio Public Library has events lined up throughout the month to celebrate and educate the public. Enjoy dance performances? Texas A&M University in San Antonio is proud to present Step Afrika! and this performance is free and open to the public. Coming soon to La Villita is the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum or SAAACAM. From Feb 16th to March 7th they have several events planned. Come out and support their work.