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6 ways to virtually celebrate Black History Month this year

From virtual events to must-see films and must-read books.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

Like everything else in the past year, celebrating Black History Month will look slightly different this February. Not only will festivities be carried out from the comfort of our own couches, but it does feel like the country as a whole is grappling with a renewed sense of urgency when trying to observe the officially recognized honorary month.

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There are a ton of ways to properly partake in Black History Month celebrations, albeit virtually, of course. Let's all vow to do our part—here are a few ideas:

1. Buy a Book (or Three!) From Black-Owned and -Operated Bookstores Across the Nation

Just this past summer, we highlighted ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, including stocking up your library with tomes purchased from black-owned and -operated bookstores across the United States. That tip works on Black History Month as well. This particular Google doc by Don Gorman, the publisher of rocky Mountain Books, does a good job at highlighting a few destinations in North America. 

2. Attend Virtual Events Hosted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)

The museum's February schedule is a packed one. The free events (warning: registration is required for all) include a conversation with renowned scholars Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, another one focusing on prison reform and a slew of online exhibitions that range in scope and style. Check out the full schedule of events right here.

3. Learn About the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Google Arts & Culture does an incredible job at providing access and information about the Black experience. From virtual museum tours all across the nation to historical deep dives and video footage, the tool is chock-full of interesting information presented in just-as-interesting ways. One of our favorites? An entire channel dedicated to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including his original "I Have a Dream" speech. Browse through all the offerings right here.

4. Celebrate Films Helmed by Black Directors

There are a ton of movies about and created by African Americans, but if you are looking to start working on your must-watch Oscar list while simultaneously celebrating Black History Month, you should focus your attention on One Night in Miami and Judas and the Black Messiah. The former, Regina King's directorial debut, dives into the 1964 fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston. The latter film instead centers on the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and his eventual death by the hands of the FBI. One Night in Miami is currently out in select movie theaters and available for streaming on Amazon Prime while Judas and the Black Messiah will simultaneously drop in certain theaters on February 12 and on HBO Max. 

5. Support Black-Owned Businesses

Miiriya is an online marketplace that showcases Black-owned businesses in a range of categories that include home decor, fashion, beauty, art and more—a great tool indeed. A relatively new site, it makes it incredibly easy for vendors to sign up (there are no transaction or listing fees!) and for folks to find what they're looking for, whether that's new sunglasses, an art piece or a great beauty product.  

6. Listen in on the Chicago Children's Choir Annual Black History Month Concert

Every year, the Chicago Children's Choir puts on a much-anticipated concert in honor of the month's celebration. This year, you can tune in, courtesy of the Internet. Expect to be delighted by a ton of music that will be focusing on the Black experience, culture and traditions. The free livestream can be accessed on the choir's YouTube and Facebook pages on February 25 at 8pm EST.

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