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Copyright 2002 Gerri Gribi ||| Email ||| Updated 08/07/15
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Origins of and resources for:

1. The Negro National Anthem: Lift Every Voice and Sing
2. Black History Month in the United States & Canada
3. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Black Music Month (June)
7. Black Nationalism (Marcus Garvey, Black Nationalist Colors and Flag, Malcolm X, Black Power, Organization Us)
9. National Urban League
10. National Council of Negro Women
11. Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
12. SCLC
13. SNCC (SNCC Legacy Project)
14. Food!


Black History Month in the United States and Canada

Official U.S. Theme:

2016 – Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memory
2017 – The Crisis in Black Education
2018 – African Americans in Times of War

Carter G. Woodson, (1875-1950) noted Black scholar and historian and son of former slaves, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, which was later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).He initiated Black History Week, February 12, 1926. For many years the 2nd week of February (chosen so as to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln) was celebrated by Black people in the United States. In 1976, as part of the nation's Bicentennial, it was expanded and became established as Black History Month, and is now celebrated all over North America.

The ASALH has established the national theme since 1926. The Association has historically worked to conserve, preserve and perpetuate African American history and culture. At their site, you can order their Black History Learning Resource Package and other resources from the online store. You'll also find future and past themes.

Canada: The following information is quoted from the website of the Ontario Black History Society, on the 10th anniversary of the National Declaration of Black History Month in Canada. You'll find many interesting resources at the OBHS website!

"African-American historian, Carter G. Woodson conceived of the idea to have Negro History Week (later extended to Black History Month) in 1926 to coincide with the birthdates of emancipators, American President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass who had been enslaved. Sleeping car porters brought the idea across the border into Canada with them.

"The Canadian Negro Women’s Association celebrated it within the Black Canadian community. However, when Stanley G. Grizzle organized the first ‘mainstream’ celebration of February as Black History Month (BHM) in Toronto’s British Methodist Episcopal Church in 1950, no one could have imagined that it would grow to encompass the imagination of the entire country. But that it did.

"Through the efforts of Dr. Daniel G. Hill of the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS), BHM was formally recognized in Toronto by 1979. As it continued to be nurtured and supported by the OBHS, the idea to have a national BHM declaration in Canada was introduced to Jean Augustine, MP and Parliamentary Secretary by Rosemary Sadlier, President of the OBHS. It was finally passed in the House of Commons on December 5, 1995, and the first national declaration of Black History Month in Canada went into effect in February 1996."

- Walking in History With Woodson An essay by Dr. Maulana Karenga in the L.A. Sentinel 2/05/09.

African American Read-In

Sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English with the endorsement of The International Reading Association. It is hoped that more than a million readers will sign up to read literature by Black authors during the month of February! You can download a packet and recommended reading lists at the NCTE.

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Martin Luther King Day, January 15
Federal Holiday: Third Monday in January
The Official theme is the same each year: "Remember! Celebrate! Act! Day On, Not A Day Off!!"

Martin Luther King Center Website

On April 8, 1968 - four days after Dr. King was assassinated - Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich) introduced the first legistlation providing for a federal holiday. But that dream wasn't realized until nearly 20 years later

All through the 1970's and 80's controversy surrounded the idea of a Martin Luther King Day. Congresspersons and citizens had petitioned the President to make January 15, Martin Luther King's birthday, a federal legal holiday. Others wanted to make the holiday on the day he died...while some people did not want to have a holiday at all.

January 15 had been observed as a legal holiday for many years in 27 states and Washington, D.C. Finally, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the third Monday in January a federal legal holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. Yet not until 1999 was the holiday celebrated by all 50 states. The holiday is celebrated in some form in 100 countries around the world. Learn more about The King Holiday.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial - National Park Service

The memorial was planned to be dedicated August 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of the groundbreaking March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. However, due to the threat of Hurricane Irene, though the memorial was opened in August, the formal dedication was moved to Sunday October 16, 2011.

The website has resources to explore this park, history & culture, a section for kids, news and more.

Martin Luther King Jr. Posters at

Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute - Keeping King's Dream Alive

In 2005, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute was created to provide an institutional home for a broad range of activities illuminating the Nobel Peace laureate’s life and the movements he inspired. At this content-rich web site you'll find the King Papers Project, News and events, the King Online Encyclopedia, Featured Documents...a vast array of King resources.

Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Your Classroom

Lesson plans and resources provided by the National Council of Teachers of English. This takes you to their homepage, then search "King."

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Kwanzaa - December 26 through January 1

KWANZAA is celebrated seven days; from December 26 through January 1, a period which represents the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one. Kwanzaa draws on African traditions and takes its name from the phrase for first fruits in Swahili, a widely spoken African language. Its origins are in harvest celebrations that occurred in various places across the African continent in ancient and modern times. These traditions were synthesized and reinvented in 1966 by Maulana Karenga as the contemporary cultural festival known as Kwanzaa.

The U.S. Post Office issues a Kwanzaa commemorative "Forever" stamp. If you don't find it at your local post office, you can order it online.

The Official Kwanzaa Website

This is the website founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga, and provides detailed information about the history, symbolism, greetings, gifts, colors and decorations of Kwanzaa. It also provides a section of "Frequently Asked Questions," an annual greeting from Dr. Karenga, and recommended books, music and videos.

As the popularity of Kwanzaa grows, it has also become commercialized. "Therefore, the central interest of this website is to provide information which reveals and reaffirms the integrity, beauty and expansive meaning of the holiday and thus aids in our approaching it with the depth of thought, dignity, and sense of specialness it deserves."

The Kwanzaa Album. Women of the Calabash. Bermuda Reefs Records, 1998. Madeleine Yayodale Nelson, Marsha Perry Starkes, and Mayra Casales, all vocalists and percussionists. Order or listen at

This album is the premier authentic collection of music inspired by and based upon the ideals, stories and history of Kwanzaa. In addition to a wide range of instrumental pieces, the album features eight specifically chosen vocal performances, ranging from traditional African songs to contemporary composed pieces. A standout for me is "Mya Si Grei", a traditional song which originated in Guyana, sung by enslaved Africans and passed down to their children. The lyrics roughly translate into "Even though we are here in these terrible conditions, we are still the same proud, noble people we always were." I also enjoyed Jody Gray's a capella arrangement of "Lift Every Voice" performed with the Free Voices of Praise Choir. This is a dynamic, beautiful CD, one I highly recommend to celebrate Black History any time of year.

Kwanzaa : A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture. Maulana Karenga . University of Sankore Press, 1997. Available at

Everything you could ever want to know about Kwanzaa, written by the founder. Beautifully illustrated, this book belongs in every school library.

Search for Kwanzaa books and music at

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Juneteenth, June 19

In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation declared freedom for all slaves, but the end of slavery was a slow and localized process because communications weren't what they are today, and in many areas, there weren't enough Union troops present to enforce it. Such was the case in Galveston, Texas. Not until June 19, 1865, did Union soldiers land with news that the war had ended and that all slaves were now free.

This news was met with both shock and jubilation, and June 19, or Juneteenth, became the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery. The remembrance of those festivities became particularly precious to former slaves and their decendents, and has grown today to a worldwide celebration.

Learn more at

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Black Music Month (June )

"Created in 1978, was the brainchild of producer/composer Kenny Gamble and broadcast executive Ed Wright. Gamble was one-half of the renowned production team Gamble and Huff, and the founder of the famous Philly International Records, the label credited with inventing the legendary "Philly Sound" of the mid and late 70s.

"Gamble had already founded the Philadelphia Music Foundation, which honored and recognized musicians from his hometown. The Black Music Association expanded that concept, aiming to support the honor, preservation and advancement of black music on a global scale. The association, which drew from all areas of the black music business, artistic as well as business and communications, saw the establishment of a Black Music Month as part of its overall program.

"The month of June was first declared Black Music Month by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. In June 2002, President George W. Bush affirmed June as Black Music Month in a proclamation, stating, "I call on all Americans of all backgrounds to learn more about the rich heritage of black music and how it has shaped our culture and our way of life, and urge them to take the opportunity to enjoy the great musical experiences available through the contributions of African-American music." Source:

The Black Nationalist Colors and Flag

Commissioned by Marcus Garvey, the "black flag" was originally the flag of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, a "back to Africa" organization of the 1920s. The red, black and green African Liberation or Black Nationalist flag is a symbol of universal black racial solidarity. The flag has three bars from top to bottom. Red represents the blood of all black people, black stands for the black race and green symbolizes land and nationhood.

Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind . 90 min. Produced for The American Experience, 2001. Available at

Marcus Garvey was many things to many people. To the elite of the Harlem Renaissance, he was a buffoon. To J. Edgar Hoover, he was a dangerous feared that the first black FBI agent was hired solely to infiltrate the UNIA movement. But to hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of African people around the world he brought a message of hope, pride and unity which laid the foundation for the Black Power Movement. This video is rich in music and imagery, and many points of view are expressed through interviews with black historians, Garvey's contemporaries and two sons, and former UNIA members.

Malcolm X Official Website

This website is maintained by the Estate of Malcolm X, which still sponsors community events. Among its many resources are news, history, quotes, achievements, Quick Facts and more.

Malcolm X: Make It Plain. Produced for The American Experience, 1995 Available at

Malcolm X is still a powerful presence, yet we know him mostly as an icon. Using rare interviews, archival footage and photographs, this video takes the viewer on an intellectual journey and chronicles the life and evolution of Malcolm X. The man behind the myth is explored as people close to him - including Maya Angelou, Ossie Davis, and Alex Haley - tell his story.
2012 Update: the film is out-of-print and was not transferred to DVD, but the PBS web site still offers a transcript and other resources.

Malcolm X Posters and T-shirts at

It's About Time: Black Panther Party Legacy and Alumni

From the Statement of Purpose: "The It's About Time Committee is committed to preserving and promoting the legacy of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and its programs of community survival pending social change...We have the responsibility to place our own experiences into historical context; otherwise the legacy of the Black Panther Party will be ignored, dismissed and distorted by today's commentators and tomorrow's historians. ..We will maintain a network of Black Panther Party alumni and supporters for the purpose of providing educational information to community groups or the public at large regarding issues of social justice."

Malcolm X Research Site

This extensive, comprehensive site includes a chronology, family biography, photos, speeches and bibliography. It provides a study guide, links to conferences, and discussion of Malcolm X's legacy and the radical black tradition.

The Organization Us

The Organization Us was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga and several advocates on September 7,1965 following the Watts Revolt. "Out of the fires and struggle of that period we projected a new vision of possibility thru service, struggle and institution-building." Founders of Kwanzaa.

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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in New York City by a group of black and white citizens committed to social justice on February 12, 1909...the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. The founders include Ida Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villiard, and William English Walling.

The principal objective of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of the United States. It is committed to non-violence.

You can learn more about both the NAACP's history and current activites by visiting the NAACP website

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National Urban League

Founded in 1910, the Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. The mission of the Urban League movement is to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power and civil rights.Headquartered in New York City, it is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, community-based movement. The heart of the Urban League movement is their professionally staffed Urban League affiliates in over 100 cities in 34 states and the District of Columbia. National Urban League website

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National Council of Negro Women

Founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune with the goal of improving the lives of black women and their families. Motto: Leave No One Behind. NCNW Website.

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Rainbow/Push Coalition

"The National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multiracial, multi-issue, international membership organization founded by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr." It's mission is "uniting people of diverse ethnic, religious, economic and political backgrounds to make America's promise of 'liberty and justice for all' a reality." "RPC is the merger of Operation PUSH (founded in 1971) and the National Rainbow Coalition (founded in 1985) " Rainbow/Push Coalition Website

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

The beginnings of the SCLC can be traced back to the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56, and founders include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Rev. C. K. Steele, Rev. T. J. Jemison and Attorney I. M. Augustine. This movement is grounded in the philosophy of nonviolent resistance based on the lives and teachings of leaders such as Jesus Christ and Mohandas Gandhi. Current programs include direct action and voter registration.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee - SNCC Legacy Project

The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee or SNCC (pronounced “Snick”) emerged from the student sit-ins that erupted on February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Historians characterize SNCC as the movement’s “cutting edge”. Its “field secretaries” worked in the most dangerous parts of the south seeking to both cultivate and reinforce local leadership. Its uncompromising style of non-violent direct action confronted racial injustice throughout the South and contributed to the elimination of racial segregation. And SNCC’s unique “from-the-bottom-up” approach to organizing led to the emergence of powerful grassroots organizations.

Though SNCC no longer exists as an organization, veterans came together at a 50th Anniversary Conference in 2010 to create the SLP (SNCC Legacy Project) both to document the history and to reach out to young people who are searching for ways to tackle the unfinished social, political and economic issues that confront them as 21st century activists.

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African Cookbook

Menus and recipes from Africa, by country.

RecipeSource: Africa

African Bobotie, FuFu, Peanut Soup, Morrocan Lemon Chicken, Anise Bread , Zimbabwe Greens and Yellow Raisin Rice are just a few of the 70 African recipes you can try at this site.

Soul Foods

Barbeque sauce, seafood gumbo, grits, black eyed peas, greens, beans and more!

National Council of Negro Women, creators. The Historical Cookbook of the American Negro. Reprinted by Beacon Press, 2000. Read more at

This is a real gem back in print! First published in 1958, this book includes contributions from NCNW members in thirty-six states and offers exceptional insight into American history and the African American community at the time of its publication. It's arranged according to the calendar year, and even includes a recipe for Harriet Tubman's favorite dish.

The African-American Heritage Cookbook : Traditional Recipes and Fond Remembrances from Alabama's Renowned Tuskegee Institute. By Carolyn Quick Tillery. Birch Lane Press, 1997. Available at

Two hundred recipes and memories!

Larissa's Bread Book: Baking Bread & Telling Tales with Women of the American South. By Lorraine Johnson-Coleman. Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 2001. Available at

I love this book! It explores and celebrates the rich cultural diversity of the south, through the eyes of a young girl and ten aging women who share their memories...and their recipes. (There are twelve different versions of cornbread...yum!) As the author writes, "...the South was never only black and white, but was always a rich rainbow of ethnic groups..." So you'll find represented here African-American, North European, Italian, Mexican, Cajun, Appalachian, Cherokee and Jewish traditions.

Creole Cookbooks at Amazon