Kick Off Black History Month With Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain and a Host of Other Events

Author, teacher and certified genealogical lecturer LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson will share best practices in using probate and other estate records to research enslaved ancestors. (NMAAHC, gift of the Families of Anita Williams Christopher and David Owen Williams)

Join Smithsonian’s NMAAHC for book talks, kid programs, artist meetups and a STEM Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon.

Smithsonian will celebrate Black History Month this year with a twist—virtual programming.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is offering a wide range of digital programs for all ages this February. The month kicks off February 2 with a book discussion with authors and scholars Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain on their newly released book Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019, a 10-part book spanning 400 years of African American history. In this discussion moderated by Mary Elliott, the museum’s curator of American slavery, Kendi and Blain will focus on slavery, reconstruction and segregation and their continuing impact on the United States. They will be joined by several contributors to the book, including Herb Boyd, City University of New York; Kali Nicole Gross, Emory University; Peniel Joseph, University of Texas; and Annette Gordon Reed, Harvard University.

The museum’s Black History Month celebration also features the digital return of one of its signature programs, "A Seat at the Table," an interactive program for participants to consider challenging questions about race, identity and economic justice over a meal. The February session will cover race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States.

Other programs include the third installment of the museum’s popular education series, “Artists at Home,” for students grades six to 12; a new children’s program series based on the museum’s newest Joyful ABC’s activity book series; and a discussion about race and medicine with educators from the museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

Uplifting the Black Family: NMAAHC Black History Month Social Media Campaign

NMAAHC’s social media platforms will explore The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity, the theme for 2021 selected by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, an organization created in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson—known as the Father of Black History Month. The daily, digital conversation will amplify the museum’s Black History Month programming and will share century-old stories, dynamic photographs and items in its collection and family history resources. The public can view this year’s Black History Month social media campaign by following @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Historically Speaking: 400 Souls—A Conversation with Ibram Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

Renowned scholars Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire have assembled 90 extraordinary writers to document the 400 hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present in their newly released book Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019. Each contributor writes about a five-year period of 400 years of African American history using essays, short stories, personal vignettes and fiery polemics. The authors approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons, the untold stories of ordinary people, as well as landmarks, laws and artifacts. In a discussion moderated by museum curator Mary Elliott, featured editors Kendi and Blain will focus on historic eras such as slavery, reconstruction and segregation and their sustained impact on the United States. Several contributors to the book will join Kendi and Blain in a discussion about the impact of the African American community on social justice trajectory of American History. Admission is free; however, registration is required.

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume “community” history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span.

Jacob Muñoz