Arts & Entertainment

Black History Month: Popular books and movies

Black History Month, celebrated annually in February in the United States, is a time dedicated to honoring and recognizing the achievements, contributions, and struggles of African Americans throughout history. It originated from the “Black History Week” founded by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Black American Life and History in 1926. Black History Month provides a platform to highlight the diverse experiences and cultural heritage of Black Americans, including their significant role in shaping the nation’s history, culture, politics, science, arts, and more. Interpretations of historical events and figures of African American history can be seen through various books and films. When asking students and teachers about their favorites, they presented numerous perspectives.
I spoke to several students at Leonia High School about their opinions on popular Black history culture regarding movies and books. When asking Nicole Anez, a junior, about her favorite Black history movies, she said, “Recently, I watched Hidden Figures. Hidden Figures is a movie about 3 [female] African American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. It’s so inspiring to see women accomplish so much while also staying strong in the face of adversity.” Nicole enjoys watching these movies as she believes it provides an inspiring and influential outlook on women’s rights, specifically Black figures.

Likewise, literature plays a significant role in highlighting major topics and raising awareness on influential matters. At every high school, there are courses that can be taken to educate oneself on American history. When taking these courses, a student may have access to numerous books and writings that provide insight on historical moments.

Sophie Dahiya, a junior taking an AP U.S. History course at Leonia High School, shares her opinion on a book she had read for her class. When asked about which book that she thinks everyone should read to educate themselves on Black history, she said, “Over the summer, I read Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr. for my AP U.S. history class. It discusses the struggles of Black citizens amidst Reconstruction and the Jim Crow laws. I learned so much reading the different perspectives of this period in American history and I would advise every student to read it during Black History month”.
Regardless of their background, race, and culture, each student views Black History month as an important time to remember the significant impact and progress made by African Americans throughout history.

I asked students what Black History Month meant to them. In response to this, Lucas Rosario said, “In my opinion, this month is extremely important to not only Black Americans but every person in society. Everyone should take this time to acknowledge the progress and achievements of Black figures over the course of history.”

Through art, entertainment, and literature, we are given valuable opportunities to learn, reflect, and honor the rich legacy of Black history during Black History Month and beyond.