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Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity

February 01, 2021

Black Heritage Month's tradition is upon us, and I am excited to celebrate the Black community's achievements and the rich history of Black culture. This month-long commitment has been a tradition in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States since the late 1970s. Carter G. Woodson created Black History Month to amplify and bring to the forefront particular issues in the Black community and educate how Black people and the Black community contributed to history and society. Founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in the early 1900s, Woodson used the Association to influence the shift from a week of Black History to a month-long endeavor and from Negro History Week to Black History Month.

Madam CJ Walker is an example of an incredible contributor, albeit not well known, to society. Ms. Walker, the first in her family born after the Emancipation Proclamation, is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the first female self-made millionaire. Ms. Walker accrued her wealth by revolutionizing the hair care industry. By the end of her run, her hair care business was involved in every aspect of the hair care industry, such as commercial sales, education, & research. More notably, she was a strong advocate for women in business and other philanthropic endeavors to advance African Americans' status in the United States. Walker's accomplishments and life story were used to create the recent Netflix drama "Self Made" Her story travels from roots in Louisiana to Mississippi to Denver, Colorado, and then east. The following provides a glimpse of Ms. Walker’s classic quotes:

"This is the greatest country under the sun. But we must not let our love of country; our patriotic loyalty cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice."

Black Heritage Month 2021
This year's theme, "Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity" examines the African diaspora and the growth of Black communities across the United States. The Marcus Garvey Cultural Center (MGCC) has an excellent virtual lineup of Black Heritage Month programming and engagement opportunities beginning February 1st! Myria Davis, serving as interim leader for the MGCC, provides perspective and a welcome to Black Heritage Month at UNC.

Take Action:

We are looking forward to a great month of educational events, celebration, and reflection. For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, please find other sources located under DDEI Education and Resources on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion site and UNC Libraries under DEI & Antiracism Resources.