Becraft Scholars and Black History Month

March 1, 2023

While Black History Month 2023 has come to an end, the Fulcrum Foundation recognizes that the contributions of Black Americans to our country deserve more than one month of acknowledgement and celebration. In the spirit of honoring Black history all year long, we invited families from our Becraft Scholars Program to share what Black History Month means to them and how they continually choose to celebrate Black joy, Black excellence, and Black humanity.

Cohort 1

“Black history means a lot to our family because it speaks to the brilliance of our people as African Americans.”

“We celebrate black history by continuing to learn about the brilliance of the African diaspora in our world. Also, by attending performances and celebrations throughout the year.” –Belt Family

“Black History Month means…it’s a time for us to celebrate accomplishments and contributions that African Americans have achieved and an opportunity for other ethnicities and cultures to celebrate and learn as well of our fight [and what] we have endured.” –Cain Family

“Black History Month means life. This month is a time for my family to give thanks to our ancestors for persevering and the survival our family line. We retell stories of the times our family tree was in jeopardy. My great-great-great-grandmother, Mitzi, (on my paternal grandfather’s side) received her “freedom” when she had a baby by her master. Freedom was under the condition of leaving my great-great-grandfather behind on the plantation. Mitzi returned and stole him off the plantation. My family line would have stopped if it wasn’t for her bravery. My family still carries his last name. My great-uncle showed me a picture of Mitzi when I was young visiting Arkansas. Made the story vivid in my mind.

If my great-grandfather didn’t save my grandmother (when she was a child) the night the Klan burned/killed my family members alive in Noble Lake, Arkansas (town removed from the map), my father wouldn’t have been born and I wouldn’t be here. My family line would have stopped. Diamonds were discovered on the land and the whites wanted my family gone for their financial gains. My grandmother made sure to never let us forget or take for granted our existence no matter how hurt she was retelling [the story]. She told us the memory brings back the smell of human flesh burning. My great-grandfather was the 17th child out of over 20 and the whole family lived together in the town. My great-grandfather was the only black man in the county that owned land. That night, he was the only male sibling to survive and left with three sisters. My great-grandfather’s surviving sisters and cousins moved to Watts together, then to Seattle together again. We celebrate holidays together, family pictures, and births. My great-grandparents’ cousins’ children are like my first cousins. We are a close family and stick together because our grandparents never let us forget the fight for our existence.”

“We celebrate every day we wake up, not take advantage, and appreciate the existence of our black race. We don’t only celebrate Black History Month by honoring the famous. We celebrate the cumulative effort of survival despite the many attempts to dissolve our race. We’re here to give thanks to each other.” –Slaughter Family

Cohort 2

“I honor black history throughout the year by celebrating my daughter every single day. Encouraging her to always be the best that she can be and always reassuring her of her worth and all that she is capable of doing.” –Canda Family

“Black History Month to my family is a time to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements and contributions of the black community in America. A time to remember roots that have played a huge part in shaping the America we know today, and even where America is headed. In a world that is so diverse, it’s a time to come together, learn together, and grow together. Black history is part of our family history, and that history doesn’t go away after February. It’s important that all children are open to all aspects of history and learning, there are no cutoff dates to that. There are museums and music festivals, and a ton of places right in Seattle that we visit whenever we feel like it. There are books we read and people we learn about, things that have happened that we discuss at any point.” –Golzynski Family

“To us, [Black History Month] means much more than the history that is in textbooks. It’s about the current history we are making. It’s about celebrating the black excellence all around us!”

“We intentionally choose to be a part of making black history. We choose to patronize black establishments and uplift black organizations to empower their success and be a part of their history in the making.” –Jones Family

“For Black History Month we reflect on the contributions of African Americans to our society today.”

“To celebrate Black History Month all year long, we read books written by and about African Americans. Our daughter loves I’m a Supergirl by Kelly Greenawalt because the main character looks like her.” —Rowlette Family

“To our family Black History Month is a time for reflections, growth, and celebration! We honor our ancestors who paved the way before us. We educate so we do not forget. We celebrate, honor, and acknowledge the hard work, sacrifices and dedication of the past present and future generations.” –Yingling Family


Cohort 3

“[Black History Month] means a time of reflection and education. I love to hear what our ancestors did to ensure I have the life we get to live today. It is not perfect, but to continue feeding the message that times still need to change will also encourage younger generations to stay on top of the history so that it does repeat and perpetuate the positive message we learn today.”

“We watch 1 or 2 black history movies about leaders who made an influential impact on how we, as blacks, live today. My son has been really interested in Martin Luther King since January, so we will watch Our Friend Martin. We also will attend community events about celebrating Black History Month—one at the People’s Center and the other held at a church in Tacoma, which put on “The World is Very Hard for Blacks” through A Proud Heritage. It is important for me to instill these great lessons for my black boys as black boys/men in general. I also want to take part in educating my children as this is a part of their story.” –Childs Family

“Black History Month means educating ourselves on this history and [the] great accomplishments of our ancestors.”

“We celebrate African American history throughout the year by continuing to show growth and capture new achievements that our parents and grandparents could not achieve in America.” –Glaspie Family

“For us as a family, Black History Month is a time of remembrance and thankfulness for others who have sacrificed for us so we can have this life. Black History Month is also a celebration of those who succeeded in their careers or professions. What they do by fighting all the barriers and obstacles they face as a black person in this white society. It takes a village to see a black doctor in hospitals and clinics, but we have progressed so much compared to ten years ago, therefore it is a celebration as well.”

“We constantly read books that are written by black authors. We also read black hair books (Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison). I want to remind my kids that we are all different but the same, which will show them they must show respect for every human being. I also like to tell them stories of black heroes, one of the best books we have used is Black Heroes: A Black History Book for Kids: 51 Inspiring People from Ancient Africa to Modern-Day U.S.A. (People and Events in History) by Arlisha Norwood. Origin is important, and kids have the right to know where they came from, therefore this is our little family view for Black History Month.”  –Gudeta Family

“[Black History Month is] a time of year when we are seen and heard, which opens up conversations to educate others about black culture/community and to learn some cool facts about what things black/brown people have done to shape our world.”

“We try and support Black-owned business as much as possible and read books written by [black/brown authors] or that have black/brown characters and community/culture.” –Reese Family

“Black history means celebrating and honoring our elders and those who came before us and sacrificed for our rights and quality of life.”

“Our family walks with pride, honoring our blackness and embracing the culture daily—from the way we dress to the food we eat and even the music we listen to. WE ARE BLACK HISTORY.” –Williams Family