The GSBA Blog


Black History Month

by Tristen Gardner, GSBA Development Officer
| Feb 01, 2018

GardnerTristenWe celebrate Black History Month to remember the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history and the groundbreaking work members of our Seattle community do and have done to secure land, address the housing crisis, preserve local black culture, and enrich our local economy. We also use this time for contemplation, the exchange of experiences and ideas, and shared advocacy initiatives. We are all connected to the rich, complex history of our nation, and by celebrating Black History Month everyone can engage in the tradition of acknowledgement, inclusion, and community building.

The History of Black History Month
As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort..." Learn more here.

Black History Month Events
I am honored to be living in a city whose community is doing so much to celebrate our local Black History and celebrate our community members who do so much for us. While I am hoping to attend many of the events going on this month, here is what is currently on my schedule. I hope you'll join me!


Blacks In Tech Hackathon | Feb 02-04 | Facebook Seattle
Hackathons provide a space for self-expression and creativity. People with technical backgrounds come together, form teams around a problem or idea, and collaboratively code a unique solution from scratch.

A Book with No Pages | Feb 06 | Jacob Lawrence Gallery (UW)
C. Davida Ingram's residency project focuses on venerating pioneering Seattle black artists: Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, James Washington, and Barbara Earl Thomas. Ingram is a conceptual artist known for making subversive social inquiries. She is passionate about beauty and social justice, and her primary muses are race, gender, and social relationships. Her process includes dialogues with community organizers, artists, and healers considering black radical imagination and deeper dreaming of solidarity in the Trump era.

Through the Eyes of Art | Feb 10 | MoPop
A wonderful opportunity to learn about the intersections of activism and sports!
Panelists include: Donald Watts, former UW basketball player; Mario Bailey, former UW wide receiver; and Joey Thomas, former Green Bay Packer and current Garfield High School football head coach.

Uncovering the History of Seattle’s Black Community | Feb 13 | MOHAI
Historians Mary Henry and Jacqueline E.A. Lawson share their work documenting the history of Seattle’s black community. This is an opportunity to learn about the Central District as it was in the mid-20th Century, as well as the significant African American leaders who have shaped our region.

State of Africatown 2018 | Feb 17 | Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
The 5th annual State of Africatown will feature presentations on the accomplishments of the last year, as well as vision, opportunities, and challenges facing the African American and African Diaspora community in 2018 and beyond. Learn more Africatown's achievements in 2017 here.

How Minority Men and Tradeswomen Won Justice on the Jobsite | Feb 21 | MOHAI
Civil rights and labor activists in the '60s and '70s broke down barriers for women and workers of color and opened a pathway to long inaccessible jobs. UW Labor Archivist Conor Casey will share how Seattle workers fought for justice on the job through the lens of the historical collections that document this history.

Resilience in the Black Community: What gives us strength?  | Feb 24 | Mount Zion Baptist Church
This event is close to my heart as HIV and police violence have huge impacts on the Black community. Here, you will be able to hear the amazing Dr. Michele Andrasik and Seattle's Chief Carmen Best discuss our resilience. 

Complex Exchange: Figuring Black Futures Today | Feb 28 | NAAM
This event features presenters and practices that reference black experience and lives of people of color from a local context. A series of conversations with Seattle community members from a variety of disciplines features photographer Zorn B. Taylor, musician Eva Walker, and Jaebadiah S. Gardner, Founder and CEO of Gardner Global. Chieko Phillips will moderate.


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