Black History Month 2024 Celebrates the Arts and Artists that Enrich Us (2024)

Each year, Black History Month brings another opportunity to discover contributions that enrich our nation. The 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” explores the creativity, resilience and innovation from a culture that has uplifted spirits and soothed souls in countless ways across centuries. FEMA joins the nation in this celebration of the arts and artists that demonstrate the influence and resilience of these creators.

The creative impulses of Black and African American artists cannot be contained. Their impact is rooted in ancient cultures that spread around the world through the African diaspora and was carried by people who often arrived on our shores involuntarily. Yet, a people so strong, resilient and hopeful will still rise in the face of adversity.

Black and African American cultural contributions are still being discovered and acknowledged. We can find these contributions everywhere—from the visual and performing arts, literature, music and fashion to culinary creations and social movements.

It is impossible to not be moved by what this culture has created:

  • Extraordinary artists like Gordon Parks, whose cameras revealed an unseen America, the canvases of Jean-Michel Basquiat and the films of Melvin Van Peebles and Spike Lee.
  • The fluid movements of Judith Jamison and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, and contemporary ballerina Misty Copeland, who speak through the beauty of movement.
  • The prose and poetry of Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley, Alex Haley, Amanda Gorman and countless others who shared and illuminated the black experience and imagination.
  • The dynamic and rich achievements for courageous musicians like singers Marian Anderson, Nat King Cole and Ray Charles, and composers Quincy Jones, Barry White, James Cleveland and Jay-Z, that emerged from spirituals, gospel and the blues to influence and shape R&B, rock and roll and hip-hop.

Libraries could be filled with stories about those who have turned a little into a lot and “made a way out of no way.” Fortunately, many of these stories are being told through collections at places like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the African American Art Museum of Dallas. We encourage all to seek out other celebrations and events that illuminate these achievements are taking place around the nation this month and all year long.

Additionally, please consider taking some time to explore online resources including this list of curated documentaries, the Smithsonian NMAAHC Black History Month site and other Smithsonian museums to learn about contemporary artists, along with the federal Black History Month portal.

The diversity of our communities enriches us in so many ways and strengthens the fabric of this nation. FEMA is committed to breaking down barriers and serving the needs of all people and supporting them before, during and after disasters.

To celebrate Black History Month, explore some FEMA resources that help to advance our efforts both to support the arts and work toward equity:

Black History Month 2024 Celebrates the Arts and Artists that Enrich Us (2024)
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