Its origins date back to 1925, but since 1976 every President of the United States has proclaimed February to be Black History Month in acknowledgment of the often-underappreciated contributions African Americans have made to our country. (Black History Month) The resources available to explore this rich history – on various online and streaming services, in libraries, and in schools — have never been better, but the need to explore and understand them is just as urgent.
As the Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr., Canon Missioner and Minister of Equity and Inclusion at the Washington National Cathedral puts it:
“Yes, Black History Month is about the past, but it must also be about our present, as well as the future we hope to forge, together, as Americans.” He notes that one theme chosen for 2022, that of Black Health and Wellness, is “a way to celebrate all the ways African Americans have touched our bodies and souls, whether as essential workers, front-line health providers or in small ways to promote wellness.” And he urges us to consider the “racial and economic disparities of the COVID-19 pandemic” and to “follow the guidance of those who, throughout history, have challenged us to imagine something different, something better.” https://cathedral.org/press-room/black-history-month-is-about-so-much-more-than-our-history/
Fairfax County has also prepared a number of opportunities for residents to get involved in Black History Month, focusing on collecting stories from current and former residents and providing resources to students to engage in project-based learning activities and the county’s historical marker program.
The Fairfax County Black History Month Program will be streamed live on Friday, February 11th from 7pm-8pm on Channel 16.
The link to the live stream is: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cableconsumer/channel-16/stream.
This year’s theme is:
The Black/African American Experience Project. This is a joint effort among Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), History Commission, and Neighborhood and Community Services. There are three parts of this effort: collecting stories, project-based learning, and historical markers.
The Historical Marker Project: will initially focus on the Black/African American experience and all students from K-12 (public, private, homeschooled etc.), classrooms and community youth groups can submit ideas for new Historical Markers throughout Fairfax County. The Historical Markers can commemorate an event, person, or location of historical significance within the county. Submissions are being accepted from February 1, 2022, through March 31, 2022. Students can learn more about the project, submission guidelines, and access links to resources at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/topics/historical-marker-project.
Project- Based Learning: As part of project-based learning, FCPS will provide resources to support students in researching untold local stories of Black/African Americans and groups who have impacted our community. FCPS has also provided resources that have been published at https://www.fcps.edu/news/fcps-launches-historical-marker-project-highlight-untold-stories-countys-african-american for equitable access to students who are not enrolled in FCPS schools.
Collecting Stories: As part of the effort to increase the visibility of Black/African American experiences in the county, Neighborhood and Community Services is asking current and former county residents to share their stories. We are collecting stories about your family, community, church (faith community), cultural, educational, justice, innovation, or housing experiences. There are two ways that stories are being collected. You can complete the African American Experiences submission form on their website: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/topics/black-african-american-stories or you can share your oral history on video by making an appointment with their computer clubhouse technicians to have your stories recorded. Those interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. These stories will support the project-based learning at Fairfax County Public Schools, help build a racial history timeline and increase the visibility of Black/African American contributions to the county.
Finally, here is a link to discover twenty ways to celebrate and experience Black History Month in the DC Metro area:
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.