Here are 10 family-friendly ways to celebrate Black History Month and the contributions of Black people. The DC area is filled with rich opportunities to partake in educating, celebrating, and engaging Black history for the entire family.
1. Visit Museums
Black History is American history, so engage the entire family with a trip to a few museums dedicated to telling the story and culture of Black People. There are enough of them for every area around the DMV. Here are a few below:
Founded in 2016, this museum features various exhibits. Come here to learn, engage, dance, and have fun. The 3rd floor has an interactive section specifically designed for the kiddos!
This small but mighty center features art and small businesses and hosts local events.
This museum is the only one of its kind and features important national heroes. Take this trip to get selfie’s with some of the greats, well, at least their look-a-likes. And enjoy history while you are at it. We won’t judge you!
Nestled across from the African American Civil War Memorial, The African American Civil War Museum honors the sacrifices and uncovers the stories of Black people in the Civil War.
Right in the heart of DC’s historic Anacostia neighborhood is a museum dedicated to telling the stories of everyday folks. View the art of locals, be inspired by the stories of triumph, and learn how you can take part in the change that’s occurring.
Black History is also African history. Learn and explore more about Black people across the African Diaspora. Now let’s explore Black Businesses.
2. Patron Black Businesses
Have you visited thee Black Business Mall, founded by The Spice Suite’s, Angel Gregorio. It features various niche businesses all by Black women owners. So it’s a win win you can support Black business and support other women! For the foodies, there are a ton of Black-owned restaurants, you could also visit Black clothing stores and more! Supporting Black-owned businesses is a fun way to support Black culture.
3. History Tours
In the continuum of getting out on the town, this one is for my walking lovers! Take a DC Walking Tour. Did you know that throughout the city, in all 8 Wards, monuments are erected that tell of the history of Black people in that area? Here’s a link to the tour, and if you and the kiddos aren’t up for traveling far, you can see the monuments in your locale and go read up on the Black History of your neighborhood!
Are you in the Northern Virginia Area? Well, this one is for you. The Alexandria Black History Bus Tour takes its participants on a 90-minute guided bus tour to visit Alexandria’s various African American historic sites.
4. Visit Black Owned Coffee Shops or Tea Houses
Where are my coffee and tea lovers? I can sense your excitement as you read the sentence this one is for you! In the spirit of supporting Black businesses there are several Black coffee and tea houses with fun decor that showcases the art and beauty of the Black experience. Here’s a special list for DC and another for Maryland. The next one is for our artistic lovers.
5. Go See A Black Production
From StepAfrika to the National Black Theater, Black History Month is a great time to delve into the arts. Artistic expression has been a pivotal method to communicate the struggles and Victories of Black people. From the Harlem Renaissance to Hip-Hop, there’s no shortage of storytelling. Do you love plays? Are you an avid concertgoer? This month is an opportune time to support local Black artists.
6. Family Book Club
So far, the list has encouraged you to get out of the house. Well, here is an opportunity to stay in and cozy up and, you guessed it, talk! Put the phone and screens down (unless you’re using an audiobook) and snuggle up, read a book, and do a family Q&A about the book’s themes. Reading is excellent for children no matter what age!
Buy several age-appropriate children’s books by Black Authors and take turns reading. You can allow for questions or play fun quiz games after the reads to keep the children engaged. And if you have older children, let your children take the lead and decide which books by Black authors they would like to read! Check out our previous list of family-friendly books to read for the month. Be sure to read books that highlight the history and historical figures! You can also take a Saturday every week and visit Black-owned book stories. Sankofa & Mahogany books are two local favorites! Up next, we have something for movie lovers.
7. Movie Night (Indoor & Outdoor)
This one has tremendous flexibility; if your family needs quality time, you can host an indoor Netflix and Family time and watch Black films, TV series, or Documentaries. Use your favorite streaming service and see what’s offered. Here are a few movie suggestions.
Want to get out of the house? You can also take a trip to the movies and check out a few classics – the Smithsonian also hosts a few engaging movie nights.
Lastly, attend the DC Library 35th Annual Black Film Festival at The Martin Luther King Jr. library. Every Tuesday evening, they highlight Black films; you can check the listing here.
8. Create A Shared Family Playlist
Playlists are an art and a great way to celebrate Black History Month. They’re a great way to discover new artists and celebrate your favorites. It’s even better when the entire family is involved! Parents and children can add their favorite songs by Black artists. Set aside time to listen as a family, and then discuss why each person selected certain songs. Feel like sharing? You can take to social media and make it a fun viral challenge!
9. Give Back or Volunteer
In our world, there’s no shortage of people who need support. Find your local Black non-profit or charity and figure out how best to give back. That might mean volunteering in person, supporting a virtual campaign, giving donations to a charity, or giving to a mutual aid fund. It’s great to remind our children of civic responsibility. You can volunteer to teach Black seniors how to use smart devices, support an organization like the Traron Center that supports children impacted by gun violence, participate in a clean-up of Anacostia River, or support a local literacy program. There are many ways to get started!
10. Black Historical Organizations
The beauty of living in or proximity to the nation’s Capitol is its rich History. The District is home to some of the most prominent founding Black organizations, whether it’s a church like Metropolitan AME, The National Council of Negro Women, or the First Historically Black College Howard University; the area is brimming with opportunities to tour living monuments physically. This is a prime opportunity to take in the impact and contributions of Black people to our nation and share that importance with your children.
Celebrate Black History Month because it is American History and should be honored. This list is not exhaustive, you could take road trip as a family to a historical site. Maybe you already have some traditions in your family for celebrating Black History. We’d love to learn about them. Add them in the comments below!