Black History Month can bridge differences - Word&Way

Black History Month can bridge differences

Have you ever considered what your local library contains? On one hand, there is the need to have the facilities used by the maximum number of people. On the other, cultural and language needs of other segments of society whose numbers may not be as great should be considered, so that the library represents the entire community.

Ken Satterfield

In the same way, we can take advantage of events like Black History Month that can benefit everyone. It is a wonderful opportunity to look beyond our own experiences by reflecting on the contributions made by others, while trying to consider the experiences of those who are different than I am.

This observance began in 1915 and, since 1976, February has been officially designated by presidents each year as Black History Month. The 2015 theme is “A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture.”

Here are some practical resources you can take part in, locally and on the web.

What about your area? It can be difficult to find information. Some locations refer to “Black History Month,” while others may use “African-American History Month.” Some events may have been added. Check Facebook pages and Twitter feeds for more current information.

Sources for local community events may include the library (, colleges or the area convention and visitors bureau ( Check print and broadcast media for a calendar of events. If you are looking for particular topics such as film festivals, music or exhibits, help might be found through local arts groups and museums.

Verify that dates for the information you find are current. For example, consider state universities. In the Midwest, the University of Missouri has a vibrant diversity page and the University of Illinois Extension ( lists a large number of resources. However, at press time, the University of Kansas listed 2014 events and the University of Nebraska had only a general description.

Observing this month could include a conversation, a shared meal or a joint worship service.

Ultimately, your involvement — whether during this month or another time this year — may come down to your, your family or your church’s desire to consider life in another person’s shoes.

Ken Satterfield, a former media specialist is marketing coordinator for Word & Way.