Poems suitable for Black History Month celebrate changes that have occurred, as in "Booker T. and W.E.B." by Dudley Randall and Lucille Clifton's "Won't you celebrate with me?" Other fitting poems discuss past events. These include "Ma Rainey" by Sterling A. Brown, "For My People" by Margaret Walker, "Letter to Brooks: Spring Garden" by Major Jackson and "Lonely Eagles" by Marilyn Nelson.Continue Reading
Poems that observe the world and call for action are appropriate for Black History Month. Examples of these are "My Country ’Tis of Thee" by W.E.B. Du Bois, "Elliptical" by Harryette Mullen and "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou.
Some poems explore individual characters, such as Terrance Hayes' "Ode to Big Trend," Melvin B. Tolson's "The Birth of John Henry" and Cornelius Eady's "Nina's Blues." Others explore relationships between men and women, as in "Unholy Women" by Chris Abani, "A Negro Love Song" by Paul Laurence Dunbar and "Lothar’s Wife" by Colleen J. McElroy.
Poems like "Skinny-Dippin’ in the Gene Pool" by Thulani Davis," "Black Boys Play the Classics" by Toi Derricotte and "I, Too" by Langston Hughes consider contemporary situations. "Praise Song for the Day," written by Elizabeth Alexander for Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, also fits into this category. By contrast, traditions are explored in Honorée Fanonne Jeffers' "The Gospel of Barbecue."Learn more about Poetry
February is celebrated as Black History Month in the United States because its precursor, Negro History Week, first sponsored in 1926, was held the second week in February in recognition of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. From 1926 on, many cities across the country issued yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week, which evolved into Black History Month on several U.S. college campuses. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford called for the first nationally recognized Black History Month.Full Answer >
Carter G. Woodson is given credit for laying the foundation of what later became Black History Month. He helped found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History on Sept. 9, 1915, which expanded Negro History Week to Black History Month in 1976.Full Answer >
Black History Month is celebrated in the United States every February. In 1976, President Gerald Ford was the first American president to officially recognize Black History Month, which already was celebrated at many colleges.Full Answer >
"Anansi the Spider and the Middle Passage" and "Now Let Me Fly" are plays that relate to Black History Month, requiring a flexible cast of five to twenty people. "Anansi the Spider and the Middle Passage" is about staying strong through an era of slavery, while "Now Let Me Fly" is about the struggle to end legalized segregation in America.Full Answer >