In honor of Black History Month, we invited DNRP’s Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Manager, Art Hendricks, to curate a list of resources and events DNRP employees and the community can access to deepen our knowledge and awareness of Black history. “I encourage you to intentionally learn, discuss, and honor the contributions of African Americans,” wrote Hendricks. “Most important, honoring Black History Month is an opportunity to create a sense of community and belonging within our workplace, King County, and across the country.”
King County proclaims the month of February Black History Month
Black history is American history, and this month is a powerful reminder of our commitment as a county to making progress on equity and social justice through racially just policies that combat anti-Black racism. Black History Month is one month out of the year, but the history, community, and transformational work is year-round.
Black History Month reads and events
The King County Library System has a number of events and resources available this month.
Find books for all ages at www.kcls.org/BlackHistoryMonth, which align with the 2023 theme, ‘Black Resistance.’ The theme is selected each year by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The KCLS has a wide range of topics and choices to explore in their collection. Here are a few you might want to check out:
ONLINE Octavia’s First Afronaut: History, Resistance and Black Futures
Sunday, Feb. 19, 2-3:15 p.m., Please register
Octavia Butler scholar, Dr. Briana Whiteside, will provide insight into the author’s earliest efforts to (re)imagine black women’s lives and futures by discussing the groundbreaking character Alanna, from Butler’s novel, Survivor… Survivor (1978). The character was not included in the re-published series compilation, Seed to Harvest (2007). Dr. Whiteside will talk about why that novel was rescinded (at Butler’s request) and why the novel is an important touchstone in Butler’s remarkable career.
ONLINE Precarious Lives of Free Blacks Pre-1865
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 6-7:15 p.m., Please register
What was life like for Free Blacks prior to 1865? This presentation discusses how freedom was obtained pre-Emancipation in British, French, and Spanish colonies as well as the new nation of the United States. Speaker Janice Lovelace, PhD, has more than 30 years of experience in genealogical research and has presented nationally on methodology, DNA, and ethnic minority genealogy. She is author of the National Genealogical Society’s course, African American Roots: A Historical Perspective.
ONLINE Author Voices: Clyde W. Ford
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Please register
Join a discussion with Clyde W. Ford, author of Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Making of White Power and Wealth. As Ford reveals, in tracing the history of almost any major American institution of power and wealth you’ll find it was created by Black Americans or created to control them.
Support local Black-owned restaurants
Plate of Nations, the signature event of South Seattle’s MLK Business Association, celebrates the incredible array of restaurants in the area. This year’s Plate of Nations takes place March 24-April 9. Plate of Nations made a list of Black/African-owned restaurants in South Seattle that you can support this Black History Month.
Outdoors-focused BIPOC community organizations
King County Parks shared some outdoors-focused community organizations for and by Black community members that you should check out year-round. This list is by no means all-encompassing, but we hope it inspires you to discover more great organizations that are led by, and seeking to bring together, BIPOC nature enthusiasts in the great outdoors.
Give these groups a follow on Instagram and see what events they have coming up!
Celebrating Black environmentalists
Black environmentalists have been at the forefront of the fight for a sustainable and just future for decades. This month, King County Hazardous Waste Program is highlighting a story of black activists fighting for environmental justice and racial equity in their blog post How Black activists brought us environmental justice – and changed the conversation about racial equity.
Our partners at Washington Department of Ecology honored the legacy of Black environmental heroes who fought for environmental justice. Marjorie Eugene-Richards is an environmental activist in Louisiana who grew up in “cancer alley” — a neighborhood with high rates of respiratory disease, cancer, and birth defects due to pollution. She spent 13 years fighting for justice in her community and was the first Black American to receive the Goldman Environmental prize in 2004. The Earth Day Network sheds light on the contributions and perspectives of Black environmentalists in an article, spotlighting key Black figures in the environmental movement and the important work they are doing to build a better future for current and future generations.