Every February, the United States observes the achievements, and acknowledges the struggles, of the African American community throughout the nation’s history. The origins of Black History Month began in 1915 with the founding of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) by historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland. However, it didn’t become a national observance until 1976, when then President Gerald Ford declared it so. Although Black History Month originated in the U.S., it is celebrated in many other parts of the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom.
This year, The ASALH declared the theme of the month as Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity, which you can learn more about on the organization’s website.
To celebrate Black History Month, we’ve rounded up virtual events and activities around the nation that celebrate the contributions of Black people. But remember, though Black History Month runs throughout February, you can choose to honor the richness of the community any time of year. Use these virtual events as inspiration for future travels, and when you’re ready, celebrate Black history in person.
ASALH Black History Month Virtual Festival: Throughout February
- The ASALH will host several events in February to celebrate Black History Month. While most events are free and available for streaming through YouTube, the ASALH will host one ticketed event on February 20 — a conversation with renowned literary critic Henry Louis Gates, Jr., known for the popular documentary Finding Your Roots.
- In this collection of events, Eventbrite highlights panel discussions, open mic nights, history lectures, and more taking place throughout Black History Month through different sponsors and platforms!
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: Throughout February
- The Wright Museum in Michigan will host a series of events (both virtual and live) throughout Black History Month. For those visiting the museum in person, advanced registration is encouraged! Tickets will be timed and social distancing guidelines are in place.
Diversity Best Practices: 2021 Black History Month — Virtual Event: Tuesday, February 23 at 12 p.m. ET
- Hosted by Diversity Best Practices, this Black History Month webinar will celebrate and discuss diversity within the Black community. Attendees will discover ways to support the Black community, and gain actionable steps to support advancement of African Americans.
Rosa Parks Museum Virtual Tour: All year
- Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama offers virtual tours of the museum’s permanent exhibit through Zoom meetings. Although the tours are free, donations are welcome.
Smithsonian Heritage and History Month Events: Throughout February
- The Smithsonian will host several free and paid online lectures and discussions during Black History Month, such as In Dialogue: Social Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice – Race and Medicine and Historically Speaking: The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the African American Community.
Music & Podcasts
Celebrate Black History Month all February long with Spotify’s Black History Is Now page! From podcasts to playlists, Spotify celebrates African American culture with phenomenal Black music and powerful voices of culture.
Apple is also launching month-long experiences across all its apps in honor of Black History Month. Both Apple Music and Apple Podcasts will curate shows, playlists, essays, original videos, and more from Black voices, influencers, musicians, authors, and directors. Visit any of the Apple apps for the collections and exclusive content.
- Roundabout Atlanta Tours & Transportation offer the chance to delve into African-American heritage and fully experience the historical and cultural significance of Atlanta, the home of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. With COVID-19, enhanced cleanliness and safety measures are being taken, such as cleaning vehicles and venues with disinfectants, requiring masks, and providing hand sanitizer.
- Located in Montgomery, Alabama, the National Museum for Peace & Justice and the Legacy Museum is open to the public with limited capacity, requiring both face masks and temperature checks. Latex gloves, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes are also available throughout the museum.
- This self-guided walking tour in Providence, Rhode Island highlights early colonial days and the Black experience, dating back to 1636. The walking tour can also be made virtual!
- Take a 40-minute virtual tour through Washington, D.C.! Your guide will share stories of African American Heritage in the U.S. capital and host a Q&A once the tour is finished. After you participate in the tour, you will receive tickets to the National Museum of African American History and Culture to use at a later date.
- Great Exploration Tours is a minority-run, family-owned tour company that offers the chance to experience the true essence of Atlanta and the US Virgin Islands. If you’d like to stay closer to home and support small and Black-owned businesses throughout the Virgin Islands, take a virtual tour of this paradise and enjoy a box of handcrafted goods shipped right to your home.
Hotels & Cars
- Travelers who want to support Black hospitality entrepreneurs and diversity in the tourism industry can choose from a variety of accommodations for their next getaway — take a look at our Guide to BIPOC-Owned Hotels, Vacation Rentals, and More!
- Reminder: While February marks a time to honor and reflect on Black history in the United States, we should be celebrating all year-round. And when the time comes that we are able to travel more freely, consider visiting some of these virtual events in person! Use this guide to bookmark 9 places to celebrate Black History Month for a future trip—or brush up on how to be a better ally while traveling.
How will you celebrate Black History Month?
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