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Black History Month Resource Guide

"8 Black Environmentalists Who Made History"

8 Black Environmentalists Who Made History8 Black Environmentalists Who Made History [Green Philly]

It’s Black History Month. Let’s reflect on environmentalists who revolutionized environmental justice. Not only does the sustainability movement face greenwashing, it is often whitewashed as well. Many Black environmental leaders rarely receive the same attention as non-Black scholars and activists.

Here are a few of the people who have made huge impacts in environmental fields, making history with their achievements and advocacy while fighting racism.

African American Museum in Philadelphia

Photo of the African American Museum building in Philadelphia. The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Founded in 1976 in celebration of the nation's Bicentennial, the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) is the first institution funded and built by a major municipality to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage of African Americans. Throughout its evolution, the museum has objectively interpreted and presented the achievements and aspirations of African Americans from pre-colonial times to the current day.

The museum is committed to telling the story of African Americans in all its permutations: family life, the Civil Rights movement, arts and entertainment, sports, medicine, architecture, politics, religion, law and technology. The AAMP currently houses four galleries and an auditorium, each of which offer exhibitions anchored by one of our three dominant themes: the African Diaspora, the Philadelphia Story, and the Contemporary Narrative.

Black Health and Wellness (2022)

Goler Blount addresses attendees at the Council on Black Health conference.Council on Black Health Initiates New Approach to Addressing Health Issues that Affect Black Americans

The inaugural conference of the Council on Black Health (CBH), a program hosted at the Dornsife School of Public Health [in September 2019], began with an embrace of African tradition, expressed through dance, a perfect setting for keynote speaker Joia Crear Perry, MD, president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative in New Orleans and Co-Founder of the Health Equity Cypher. Perry’s talk “Igniting the Flame: Decolonization of Health,” highlighted the many ways the health of people of African-descent has been negatively impacted by generations of racism that have shaped medical and other health research, treatment, policies and practice in the United States.

Black History Month Celebration at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

White text reading "Black History Month Celebration" on a black background with red and green patterns.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is celebrating Black History Month throughout the month of February with a series of events and activities that pay homage to the legacy and richness of Black art and culture in the city of Philadelphia.

The museum’s month-long activities kick off on Friday, February 2 with a panel discussion led by industrial designer and 2023 Collab Design Excellence Award honoree Stephen Burks. He will be joined by creatives ruby onyinyechi amanze, a visual artist, and Sosena Solomon, a local filmmaker. Led by PMA curator Alisa Chiles, the panelists will discuss their experiences navigating the art world as Black artists. 

Celebrate Black History Month with the City of Philadelphia

mural of young black girl holding a tree in her hands with the roots as part of her veinsThings to Do for Black History Month in Philadelphia in 2024

Black history and culture are a vital part of Greater Philadelphia’s past, present and future. The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection celebrates Black culture all year long, and Black History Month offers a special opportunity to commemorate the many contributions of Black figures throughout history and reflect on a just and more equitable future for all.

See also: 60+ Great Black-Owned Shops and Boutiques in Greater Philadelphia

Celebrate Black History Month with the Free Library of Philadelphia

Black History Month at the Free Library of Philadelphia -- pink test on purple background with young person attending a library cooking class pictured.Celebrate Black History Month at the Free Library of Philadelphia

What does it mean to observe Black History Month? Is it just about dates, names, and events...or is it more than that? This annual dedication of time allows for a purposeful moment to pay tribute to the generations of African Americans, the struggles, the triumphs, and the hope for progress and an inspiring future. 

Join the Free Library of Philadelphia as we share with one another the phenomenal talents, works, and achievements of the Black community from both Philadelphia and around the world. The Free Library has a calendar of events and activities highlighting the vast diversity of the African American experience. 

The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection

Photograph of Charles Blockson sitting amongst his collection.

Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection | Special Collections — African American Studies at Temple University

Founded by Charles Blockson, the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University is one of the most prestigious collections of African American artifacts in the U.S. The collection houses over 500,000 items relating to the global Black experience. Located in Sullivan Hall on Temple's campus in North Philadelphia, the extensive catalog dates from 1581 to the present. Blockson donated his collection to Temple in 1984. 

“My main goal in life is to build a good library of Black history — knowledge is a form of Black power and this is my part in it.” - Charles L. Blockson [pictured]



Paul Robeson House & Museum

On the left, an image from the museum with photographs and artifacts in a glass case. On the right, Paul Robeson sits on a floral couch.Paul Robeson House & Museum

Paul Leroy Robeson was a Renaissance man who spent most of his life fighting injustice, for which he was roundly persecuted. He was an actor, orator, athlete, lawyer, singer, author, scholar, activist and linguist. Most of all, the “tallest man in the forest” – he stood 6-foot-3 – was an authentic American Hero.

Celebrating the life and legacy of Paul Robeson, the house is one of several centers devoted to his life, including the Paul Robeson Cultural Center at Rutgers University (where he was an All-American athlete), Paul Robeson Cultural Center at Pennsylvania State University and the Paul Robeson House of Princeton.

Roots Picnic Philadelphia

What Makes Roots Picnic Different: Inside Philadelphia's Annual Musical  Celebration That Feels Like "It's Just Family" | GRAMMY.comRoots Picnic Philadelphia

The Roots Picnic [Wikipedia] is an annual music festival created and hosted by hip hop group, The Roots. Co-founder, Shawn Gee, and manager of The Roots serves as executive producer of the festival. The festival is held in Philadelphia, their hometown at the Mann at Fairmount Park. The first festival was held on June 7, 2008.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Marion Stokes, civil rights activist, feminist and independent archivist

marion-stokes-recorded-30-years-of-television (1)Marion Stokes didn’t begin videotaping until her thirties, but throughout her life, she was clearly an archivist and documentarist. For nearly twenty years, she was a librarian with the Free Library of Philadelphia and a co-producer of Input, a Sunday-morning talk show that brought together “academics, community and religious leaders, activists, scientists, and artists” to discuss social justice issues (Atlas Obscura). It was likely through this that she likely found a deep appreciation for creating and preserving media for social change.