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RACE & JUSTICE: Black History Month

"As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, 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.

By the time of Woodson's death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all colors on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first Black History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued Black History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year." (Excerpt from an essay written by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, former ASALH National President)

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2024 Black History Month Theme: African Americans and the Arts

The Great Migration and the Power of a Single Decision | Isabel Wilkerson

Sometimes, a single decision can change the course of history. Join journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson as she tells the story of the Great Migration, the outpouring of six million African Americans from the Jim Crow South to cities in the North and West between World War I and the 1970s. This was the first time in American history that the lowest caste people signaled they had options and were willing to take them -- and the first time they had a chance to choose for themselves what they would do with their innate talents, Wilkerson explains. "These people, by their actions, were able to do what the powers that be, North and South, could not or would not do," she says. "They freed themselves."

Institutions with Black History Month Resources

Crash Course Black American History Preview | Clint Smith

Over the course of 51 episodes, we're going to learn about Black American History. Clint Smith will teach you about the experience of Black people in America, from the arrival of the first enslaved Black people who arrived at Jamestown all the way to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Podcasts to Check Out!

The Most Powerful Woman You've Never Heard Of | T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison
Everyone's heard of Martin Luther King Jr. But do you know the woman Dr. King called "the architect of the civil rights movement," Septima Clark? The teacher of some of the generation's most legendary activists -- like Rosa Parks, Diane Nash, Fannie Lou Hamer and thousands more -- Clark laid out a blueprint for change-making that has stood the test of time. Now T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, the cofounders of GirlTrek, are taking a page from Clark's playbook to launch a health revolution in the US -- and get one million women walking for justice.


Biographies & Memoirs

What Beyonce Taught Me About Race | Brittany Barron

In this powerful TEDx Talk, diversity advocate and Beyoncé super fan, Brittany Barron translates Beyoncé's music as a road map about race relations in the United States; demonstrating that being "colorblind" is not the goal, but diminishing our nation's "expertise" in racism is. Brittany’s body of work addresses the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality interact with our everyday lives. Brittany has a vast amount of experience creating and facilitating interactive workshops and training, and writing on these topics through her work in higher education, non-profit organizations and currently as a Freelance Diversity Consultant. While serving as a pastor at Fellowship Monrovia, Brittany had the privilege of writing a curriculum designed to help participants unpack and understand racism. In addition, she developed a Center for Racial Reconciliation with Fellowship Monrovia. Brittany also offers hands-on experiential learning through her Civil Rights Tours, for which she takes participants through the South to immerse them in the world of the freedom riders, advocates and everyday people. The intent is to create a deeper and more personal understanding of the history of race in America. Brittany received a B.A. in Psychology and M.S. in Counseling.

Defiance College Campus Resources

DC Campus Resources:

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have been an important part of the history and culture of Defiance College since its founding in 1850 as the Defiance Female Seminary. Defiance College is committed to making DEI an integral part of the campus experience by grounding its principle in our mission, core values, overarching strategies, campus covenant, college learning objectives, and academic strategies. It is our vision to become a national model for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Office of Intercultural Relations

The Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR) was established to foster a community at Defiance College that embraces diversity and celebrates multiculturalism among students, faculty and staff. The Office of Intercultural Relations promotes a wholistic approach to academic and personal growth through educational and co-curricular programming that support and encourages an inclusive and welcoming campus community. Programs are offered addressing diversity, multiculturalism, and cross-cultural issues for all members of the college community. The office also provides individual counseling regarding personal/academic concerns, information referrals, and other services that enhance the social, academic and personal development of students of diverse ethnicities and international students on campus.

Student Organizations:

Black Action Student Association (BASA)

BASA provides several avenues for students to interact positively with the heritage of African-Americans and other cultures. BASA serves as a "family unit" with respect to personal, social, and intellectual growth for its members and others who participate in the campus community. BASA host annual parties, poetry slams, and other programming. All students are eligible for membership in BASA. Students interested in the events or activities sponsored by BASA are encouraged to contact the Office of Intercultural relations at 419-783-2362.


Office of Intercultural Relations


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Books in the DEIA Collection

Online Exhibits & Interactive Resources

Can Art Amend History? | Titus Kaphar
Artist Titus Kaphar makes paintings and sculptures that wrestle with the struggles of the past while speaking to the diversity and advances of the present. In an unforgettable live workshop, Kaphar takes a brush full of white paint to a replica of a 17th-century Frans Hals painting, obscuring parts of the composition and bringing its hidden story into view. There's a narrative coded in art like this, Kaphar says. What happens when we shift our focus and confront unspoken truths?


Black History Month Reading Lists

The Mission to Safeguard Black History in the US | Julieanna L. Richardson

Black history in the US is rich, profound -- and at risk of being lost forever, if not for the monumental efforts of Julieanna L. Richardson. As the founder of The HistoryMakers -- the largest national archive of African American video-oral history -- Richardson shares some of the unknown and incredible legacies of Black America, highlighting the importance of documenting and preserving the past for future generations.

Films, TV, & Documentaries

Movies, TV Series, & Documentaries

Click on any of the links to visit that title's IMDb page!


American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix

Monster (Anthony Mandler) — Netflix

Loving (Jeff Nichols) — Netflix

Respect (Liesl Tommy) — Prime Video

One Night in Miami... (Regina King) — Prime Video

Da 5 Bloods (Spike Lee) — Netflix

Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Prime Video

If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Netflix

Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — HBO Max

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins) — Showtime

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (George C. Wolfe) — Netflix

Judas and the Black Messiah (Shaka King) — HBO Max

Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Showtime

The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu

Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee) — Prime Video

Mudbound (Dee Rees) — Netflix

The Butler (Lee Daniels) — Netflix

Black Panther (Ryan Coogler) — Disney+

Soul (Pete Docter & Kemp Powers) — Disney+

She's Gotta Have It (Spike Lee) — Netflix

Passing (Rebecca Hall) — Netflix

42 (Brian Helgeland) — HBO Max

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Lee Daniels) — Hulu

Malcolm X (Spike Lee) — HBO Max

Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi) — Disney+

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (George C. Wolfe) — HBO Max

Television Series

Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix

Black-ish (Kenya Barris) — Hulu

When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

Watchmen (Damon Lindelof) — HBO Max

Kindred (Branden Jacobs-Jenkins) — Hulu

Atlanta (Donald Glover) — Hulu

Underground (Misha Green & Joe Pokaski) — Hulu

Grown-ish (Kenya Barris & Larry Wilmore) — Hulu

Abbott Elementary (Quinta Brunson) — Hulu

The 1619 Project (Nikole Hannah-Jones) — Hulu

Insecure (Issa Rae) — HBO Max


King In the Wilderness (Peter W. Kunhardt) — HBO Max

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (Beyoncé & Ed Burke) — Netflix

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (David France) — Netflix

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler) — Netflix

Being Serena (Serena Williams) — HBO Max

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (Timothy Greenfield-Sanders) — Prime Video

Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed (Shola Lynch) — Prime Video

What Happened, Miss Simone? (Liz Garbus) — Netflix

I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck) — Prime Video

Becoming (Nadia Hallgren) — Netflix

13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

John Lewis: Good Trouble (Dawn Porter) — HBO Max

Summer of Soul (Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson) — Hulu


Many popular streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video, have collections of curated media to help users celebrate Black storytellers. Check out each of the streaming platforms for more media recognizing Black voices this Black History Month!

Fiction by Black Authors

Salvage the Bones: A Novel / Jesmyn Ward
The Color Purple / Alice Walker
A Mercy / Toni Morrison
Kindred / Octavia E. Butler
A Raisin in the Sun / Lorraine Hansberry
The Bluest Eye: A Novel / Toni Morrison
Mama Day / Gloria Naylor
Betsey Brown: A Novel / Ntozake Shange
The Intuitionist / Colson Whitehead
Jubilee / Margaret Walker
The Women of Brewster Place / Gloria Naylor
Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel / Zora Neale Hurston
Quicksand / Nella Larsen
Waiting to Exhale / Terry McMillan
Invisible Man / Ralph Ellison; preface by Charles Johnson
The Known World / Edward P. Jones
Beloved: A Novel / Toni Morrison
The Marrow of Tradition / Charles W. Chesnutt
Things Fall Apart / Chinua Achebe
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman: A Novel / Ernest J. Gaines
A Daughter's Geography / Ntozake Shange
In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black women / Alice Walker
The Street / Ann Petry
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