By Liem Solow
Since February of 1976, and every February since, Americans have collectively agreed to acknowledge this month as Black History Month, in an effort to rectify the wrong-doings of figures past who enslaved, murdered, and generally mistreated Black Americans. Through educational programs, community events, and now corporate advertisements, Black History Month has been an attempt at helping to correct history, aid struggling Black communities, and place a spotlight on issues of race that continue to persist. Despite Covid hampering what kinds of in-person gatherings are able to occur, Seattle is still hosting a wide range of events to observe Black History, as well as others that are specifically aimed at helping impoverished Black businesses and nonprofits.
Among the most intriguing of these, are the discussions from the Washington State Historical Society. With one having been hosted digitally on February 4th and the next one occurring on the 25th, these lectures look back at the inequality faced by black pioneers in the mid-19th Century, and how vital their stories are to Washington’s history and modern society. The one and a half hour presentations, live streamed on Facebook, are free for any who wish to view and participate, with speakers and presentations from multiple museums and collegiate institutions.
Jackie Mern, an employee for the Washington State Historical Society, says she’s quite pleased with how the talks are shaping up. “We didn’t realize just how many speakers were actually willing to volunteer their time.” Jackie continued, saying that with half a dozen presenters, they contemplated doing a third stream towards the middle of the month in order to give everyone more time. Ultimately though, with revenues running dry, as the museum’s closed from Covid, the Historical Society doesn’t have the resources to run an additional event. “Hopefully next year, we’ll be able to once again have in person tours and exhibits for the museum, in time for the next Black History Month,” Jackie said optimistically.