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African American History Month 2023

Celebrate Black History Month

Black History Month, also called African American History Month, is a month-long commemoration of African American history and achievement that takes place each February in the United States. It was begun in 1976.The idea for Black History Month was first conceived by the historian Carter G. Woodson and members of his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History). Since 1928, the organization that Woodson founded, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, has selected an annual theme for the celebration. The theme for 2023, “Black Resistance” is intended to highlight how Black Americans have fought against racial inequality.

Black History Month Mural Poster and Digital Project: by JSCC-Clanton Campus

As we take a moment to reflect on this year's theme, we delve into two significant historical events that invoke the idea of Black resistance and the resilience showcased in rebuilding community, economy, and personhood: the Wilmington, North Carolina Race Riot of 1898 and the Tulsa, Oklahoma Race Massacre of 1921. Please browse though the icons on this project curated by Jefferson State Community College to learn about past events and responses to them in today's world.

Black Resistance: In Words & Images

Freedom a visual collection of African Americans struggle for rights and justice (Library of Congress Collection).

The Struggle for African American Freedom: The ideal of freedom is an innovative notion that can be found at the heart of America. This ideal is embodied in the Declaration of Independence and protected in the Constitution. But freedom -- especially for African Americans -- has been elusive, fought for through social movements and struggle.

From Rosa Park's arrest to the Freedom Rides: The High Museum of Art holds one of the most significant collections of photographs of the Civil Rights Movement. The works in this exhibition are only a small selection of the collection, which includes more than 300 photographs that document the social protest movement, from Rosa Parks’s arrest to the Freedom Rides to the tumultuous demonstrations of the late 1960s.



A Tradition of Activism

A Tradition of Activism: Throughout history, African Americans have taken action to improve their lives and challenge America to live up to its democratic ideals. Working both within and across racial lines, Black activists mobilized to abolish slavery, secure civil rights, fight against injustice, and expand social and economic opportunities. 

Black Resistance Through Music

We Insist: A Century Of Black Music Against State Violence: The civil rights movement codified hymns of resistance, but the soul and funk that poured from radios paid mind to police harassment and other threats too, sometimes more pointedly. There was never a moment, in fact, when Black musicians put aside their commitment to telling the truth of how Black people have been wronged, and survived, and fought back.

Black Resistance: Freedom Riders

Freedom Riders, American civil-rights demonstrators who engaged (1961) in nonviolent protests against segregation of public interstate buses and terminals in the South. From the 1940s several federal court decisions and an Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) order had ruled against such segregation. Nonetheless, it remained a fact of life in buses, trains, and terminals throughout the South. In May, 1961, 13 Freedom Rider volunteers, seven black, six white, and nearly all young, were recruited by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to challenge state Jim Crow laws by riding buses together into the Deep South. 

(Los Angeles-Houston Freedom Riders and local student activists.)


Black Resistance: Bloody Sunday

March 7, 1965, was called "Bloody Sunday" because of the violence directed toward civil rights demonstrators during an attempted march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, on that date. The purpose of the march was to protest against police brutality and the denial of voting rights; it was a continuation of earlier civil rights efforts in the Selma area that began in 1963. Participants included key leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, such as John Lewis and Hosea Williams, as well as many unsung heroes from the local community and outside supporters.

Black Resistance: Tulsa Race Massacre

The 1921 Attack on Greenwood was one of the most significant events in Tulsa’s history. Following World War I, Tulsa was recognized nationally for its affluent African American community known as the Greenwood District. This thriving business district and surrounding residential area was referred to as “Black Wall Street.” In June 1921, a series of events nearly destroyed the entire Greenwood area.



The Roots of Greenwood: The Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma has a history that is rooted in the history of Black settlements and towns in 19th century Oklahoma and a wider geography of communities of freedom that stretch far and wide across the continent for hundreds of years.

Black Resistance in the 21st Century

Despite the gains of legal desegregation, Making Black America reveals a fervent desire for Black spaces and institutions that provide a safe place to debate, organize and celebrate. Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores how Black cultural and political movements - from Black Power to Black Twitter - embraced a radical consciousness that championed a new generation.