As we enter February, we are fortunate to share a collection of information and events honoring Black History Month, a commemoration with origins hailing back to 1915 and that officially became recognized under President Gerald Ford in 1976.
We embrace the idea that Black history is American history. As a people who were once treated as less than human, Black Americans experienced triumphs, innovative inventions, economic contributions, struggles, and oppressive acts that are all vital to understanding American history. However integral, the history and contributions of Black Americans often are separated from the rest of history lessons or completely absent from classroom curricula and need to be seen as a significant part of the underpinnings of this country.
This omission not only creates a huge deficit in our understanding of America’s history, it also makes it more difficult to fully understand and learn about the continued impacts of this history on today’s Black Americans.
In the spirit of taking our learning into action this year, here are events taking place throughout February, plus a few educational resources, where we all can learn about and honor the many contributions of Black Americans.
We invite you to share these many opportunities to get involved with your teams. You could potentially sign up to join a virtual event together, watch an educational video during a team meeting, or head out with your team to a community event.
Thanks for taking time this month to learn, listen, and acknowledge Black history and its lasting impacts.
History and Legacy of Black Entrepreneurship in the U.S. | Thursday, Feb. 2, 9:30-10:30 a.m. PST | online event presented by Princeton University’s Keller Center | free and open to all
Black entrepreneurs have a history of overcoming great obstacles and creating something from nothing. All entrepreneurs and innovators share in the legacy of overcoming significant obstacles and assembling finite resources. Join this roundtable discussion to gain an understanding of the creative strategies these entrepreneurs in history employed to succeed.
Sankofa Series | every Tuesday in February, 1 p.m. PST | online events presented by Langston Hughes Library | free and open to all
The Sankofa series is charged with raising awareness of Black history and culture, sparking thought-provoking conversation, and celebrating Black culture. Topics in February are:
- Feb. 7: Remember Those Who Passed 2022
- Feb. 14: Langston Hughes, part 1
- Feb. 21: Black literature conversations
- Feb. 28: Langston Hughes, part 2
Events in Eugene
Black History Month Events at University of Oregon | in person and virtual | free and open to all
- Feb. 1, 5:30 p.m., in person: Screening and discussion of “The March,” an award-winning short film about the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
- Feb. 7, 5:30 p.m., in person and livestreamed: “The Intersection of Art and Social Justice,” cartoonist Keith Knight talks about 20 artists who inspired him to use his art to address social issues.
Events in Portland
Black History Festival NW 2023 | events all month | in person | some events are free, and some require tickets
This annual celebration of Black culture and heritage in the past, present, and future has events happening all month, including art and educational displays, a luncheon, and a flash mob dance. Check out the schedule on the festival website.
Cascade Festival of African Films | Feb. 3-March 4 at Portland Community College | in person and virtual | free and open to all
Films showing Africa through the eyes of Africans, rather than a vision of Africa packaged for Western viewers. Films are shown in person and online. See the festival schedule and film list.
Films to watch
Streaming on Hulu: The 1619 Project
This new six-part documentary series is an expansion of a project created by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and New York Times Magazine. The series seeks to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of our national narrative.
In 1967, 11 months before his assassination, Dr. King spoke with NBC News about the need for genuine racial equality and the struggle to get white Americans to truly commit to the movement.