Reflections on Black History Month 2024

This oil painting depicts a bouquet of off-white roses and greenery in a brown bowl. The round bowl, done in deep brown tones, stands to the right side of the picture. In the bowl are five blooms and several sprays of greenery. Several other blossoms, a sprig of greenery and a long stem lie scattered around the bowl. Peeking from behind the bowl are a pile of darker green leaves and a cluster of bright red berries. Hanging on the left hand background wall is a textile with a yellow, red, and white plaid pattern.

In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson established “Negro History Week,” and fifty years later, President Gerald Ford designated the month of February “Black History Month” in 1976. This year’s theme recognizes the Arts, a recognition of the significant impact of Black arts on US culture. While the arts are essential to our wellbeing, not a frivolous addition, this year’s theme—no doubt selected way in advance—feels out of step with the…