There are lots of opportunities across the Commonwealth this month to celebrate and learn more about African American culture and history.
All across the country this month, communities are celebrating the achievements of Black Americans, and participating in events to learn more about African American history. It’s a tradition that saw its beginnings in 1915, when a weeks-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation was held in Chicago. In 1976 President Gerald Ford formally recognized Black History Month as a national celebration, and every U.S. president since has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
Governor Northam has issued an official proclamation recognizing Black History Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and there are many ways you can participate. The Virginia Black History Month Association is hosting a 3-day virtual gala, complete with town hall meetings, a virtual dancefloor and DJ, and a number of live-streamed church services. Virginia’s tourism website has a list of Black history events and tours statewide, so you can easily see if there is an upcoming event near you.
If you live in the Richmond area, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has an impressive collection of African American art that is well worth a visit. The museum is also offering a number of online programs this month if you would rather experience and learn about some of these Black artists and their art from the comfort of your home.
The city of Fredericksburg is offering a downloadable walking tour that will guide you through the streets of Fredericksburg, detailing the life of former slave John Washington, who spent 24 years as a slave in a 10-block radius in downtown Fredericksburg.
If you have kids at home, The Children’s Museum of Virginia is offering a number of online events for Black History Month. You can enjoy a virtual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy, recorded by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, or a production of Jackie Robinson, a 45-minute play put on by the Bright Star Touring Theatre, among other events.
Here at Burnet & Williams we love to see the American Bar Association shining a spotlight on some of the legal world’s most trailblazing African American lawyers, leaders, and thinkers. On that list are some well-known names — like Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice — and quite a few less-widely-known individuals — such as Jane Bolin, who was the United States’ first Black woman to become a judge. We hope that you will spend some time this month learning about and celebrating some of the countless invaluable contributions members of the African American community have made to our country!