Ending Black History Month With Gusto

We’ve reached the fateful end of February–it had to happen at some point–and Black History Month has come to a close. Not sure how to commemorate the end of the month? Ms. has a few suggestions for you:

First, try taking a walk with Sojourner Truth or maybe talking about race and reproductive rights with Dorothy Roberts. Sing a love song to Ella Baker and stand strong on Dorothy Height’s shoulders. Honor the great Harriet Tubman. Search for the creative Black women of the South with Alice Walker, or just wish Walker herself a happy belated birthday. Relive the pageant days with Belva Davis. Find Zora Neale Hurston, again. Ponder what the work of bell hooks has meant to you. Or just tell the inspirational African American women in your life how much you care.

Looking for a good book to read? Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will captivate you with its narrative on race, gender, ethics, class, economics, science, medical treatment and how they all intersect in the story of Henrietta Lacks.

Or dive into Barbara Neely’s mystery novels, with their stellar heroine Blanche White, the “irreverent, middle-aged, African American domestic worker and occasional cook who, along with being a full-time mother, is also a part-time amateur sleuth.”

Sit back with From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism by Black feminist theory star Patricia Hill Collins. Fiction aficionados, stick with the greats: Pick up A Mercy by Toni Morrison. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author “probes the machine of slavery itself” in a way that only Morrison truly can.

Try learning from the master with I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde. Filled with questions of identity, difference, power and social justice, it’ll leave you with lots to consider, enough to last you until next February at the very least. (We hear @feministbieber is desperate to find his lost Lorde.)

She burst onto the feminist intellectual scene with Black Macho and the Myth of the Super Woman, and the world changed. Watch Michele Wallace evolve in her collection of essays Dark Designs and Visual Culture.

If a movie is more your style, rent Night Catches Us, and remember the women of the Black Panther Party.

Throw a dance party and celebrate the incredible women of hip-hop. Or just relax with the smooth stylings of Grammy award-winning Esperanza Spalding.

When it’s all over, test how much you’ve learned with our Black History Month Quiz.

I know you’re sad that Black History Month has come to a close; we’re sad too. And we still think it’s not right that it falls in the shortest month. But remembering the great contributions of African American women in history doesn’t have to stop just because the month is over. After all, March is Women’s History Month!

Photo of Ella Baker from Flickr User ProfAlliRich under Creative Commons 2.0.