UW Combined Fund Drive

February 5, 2024

Black History Month: engage, explore and support Black arts, culture and community

February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements, influences and legacies of Black Americans.

Also called African American History month—and, more recently, Celebration of the African Diaspora—Black History Month began as Negro History Week in February 1926, thanks to the efforts of scholar Carter G. Woodson.

Black History Month was officially recognized in 1978 by President Gerald Ford as a month-long national observance each February. It is also celebrated in Canada and the United Kingdom.

This year’s theme is “African Americans and the Arts,” which honors the essential contributions of transcendent Black American artists to every form of art—music, dance, theater, film, literature, poetry, oration, fashion, architecture, culinary and visual arts.

Generations of brilliant Black artists have at once pursued surpassing beauty and pushed for social justice, honoring their ancestral roots while always propelling American culture forward. “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth,” said Paul Robeson, the towering Black American singer, actor, athlete and activist. “We are civilization’s radical voice.”

Here are some ways that you can engage, explore and support African American community and culture during this Black History Month and beyond.


To show your solidarity, consider making a one-time gift or set up payroll deduction to a UWCFD nonprofit organization that supports enriching the Black experience and amplifying Black voices.

UW Black Opportunity Fund – invests in services and programs for health and academic success of Black student organizations, the Brotherhood Initiative, Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program and the Women’s Center (charity code 1482916).

UW Costco Diversity Scholarshipsupports the UW Diversity Scholars Program, an intensive effort to increase the number of highly qualified, underrepresented minority students at UW (charity code 1481296).

UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity EOP Fund for Excellence – provides support and resources for the UW Educational Opportunity Program’s emergency scholarship support, programming, orientation and recognition events (charity code 0519565).

UW Association of Black Business Students Endowed Scholarship – provides funding to support UW Business School students of African American heritage (charity code 1481305).

LANGSTON – serves as a steward and hub for Black arts and culture in Seattle and beyond (charity code 1482955).

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund – uses litigation, advocacy and public education to work towards racial justice and equality by protecting voting rights, reforming criminal justice and improving access to education (charity code 0316271).

Black Women’s Health Imperative – targets the most pressing health issues affecting Black women and girls through investments in evidence-based strategies, bold programs and advocacy on health policies (charity code 1482760).

Sisters Network – increases local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community (charity code 1478545).

The Opportunity Agenda – works to advance the impact of the social justice community by providing full and equal opportunity for all (charity code 1482906).

Southern Poverty Law Center – fights hate and systemic bigotry by monitoring hate groups, educating youth on the value of diversity and seeking justice for vulnerable people (charity code 0316284).

National Black Child Development Institute – engages leaders, policymakers, professionals and parents around critical and timely issues that impact Black children and their families (charity code 0315476).

NMDP (National Marrow Donor Program) – formerly known as the Be the Match Foundation, funds research and assists patients with potentially fatal blood diseases (charity code 0456651).


Henry Art Gallery – “LOVERULES” exhibits the work of Black conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas (beginning in February).

MOHAI – “1OO Years of Junior League of Seattle” exhibits the work of Black Northwest artists Jacob Lawrence and Barbara Earl Thomas (opened February 3).

UW History Lecture Series – “Homes for Some: Seattle’s History of Housing and Racial Exclusion” by UW historian James Gregory (Feb. 7).

Northwest African American Museum – ongoing exhibits and events, plus Black History Month keynote program with Dr. Dorethea Williams of the Smithsonian Institution (February 15).

Washington State History Museum – presenting “Solidarity Now!” — the Smithsonian exhibit exploring the often-overlooked 1968 “Poor People’s Campaign” that redefined social justice and activism in America (opened February 3).

MoPOP – pop-up gallery celebrating revolutionary guitarist Bo Diddley, who “taught the blues to rock & roll” (all February).

Town Hall Seattle – hosting Tamara Payne on “The Life and Legacy of Malcolm X (February 7), Dr. Tina Campt on “Black Feminist Visual Culture” (February 8), Bassekou and Vieux Farka Touré “Celebrating Mali’s Rhythmic Soul (February 24).

Seattle Opera – presenting the West coast premiere of “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” (February 24-March 9).

Confronting Hate Together – MOHAI hosts this community collaboration of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Wing Luke Museum and the Washington State Jewish Historical Society (February 24).

LANGSTON – Ijeoma Oluo speaks about her new book, “Be a Revolution” (February 27).

Call to Conscience Black History Museum – Columbia City Theatre turns into a museum celebrating Black excellence in the PNW (all February).

People’s Community Center – celebrate Black History with free events and activities at this Tacoma community resource (all February).

Tacoma Public Library – displaying the work Black artists (every Tuesday in February).

Elevating Voices – exhibit in Bellevue City Hall celebrates the work of 17 Black artists in the PNW (all February).

King County Library System – Kahoot! Black History Month trivia night (every Tuesday in February)


BlackPast.org – an essential online resource, created by UW emeritus professor Quintard Taylor, presents a comprehensive and accurate history of African Americans and people of African ancestry around the world.

Diversity at UW – portal to UW’s commitment to value and honor diverse experiences and perspectives, create welcoming and respectful learning environments and promote access, opportunity and justice for all.

UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity – the central UW organization creating pathways for diverse populations to access opportunities, achieve academic success and excel in a campus climate that enriches the educational experience for all.

Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project – UW-led resource bringing Seattle’s civil rights movements to life in oral histories, archival photos and documents and personal biographies.

UW Brotherhood and Sisterhood Initiatives – cohort programs providing opportunities for academic growth and leadership, exploration of intersecting identities and support to underrepresented men and women of color at UW.

UW Consulting and Business Development Center – accelerates student development while providing education and services to help grow businesses owned by people of color.

Support Black-owned Businesses – support the Black community by buying products and services from Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs—in Seattle and across the nation.

Books Beyond Black History Month – University Book Store highlights speculative fiction, fantasy and poetry written by Black American authors that ask questions about the connections between power and history, and what kind of future we can forge.

UW poet Colleen McElroy – the first full-time Black woman faculty member of the University of Washington passed away in December.

UW Medicine Department of Bioethics & Humanities – thoughtful commemoration of Black History Month from UW Medicine.

The Story Behind Black History Month – and why it’s celebrated in February from NPR.

28 Days of Black History – A virtual exhibition of 28 works that celebrate Black legacy in the U.S. in literature, art or artifact.

National Museum of African American History and Culture – The Smithsonian Institution celebrates Black History Month and offers a Searchable Museum with multimedia narratives, collections and educational resources.

Black Lives Matter – global political and social network combatting racism, discrimination, inequality and systemic violence experienced by Black communities.

TED Talk playlist – be inspired by thoughtful ruminations on Black identity and culture. Or give a listen to a Black History Month Playlist of podcasts.

Anti-Racist reading list – curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist.”