Black History Month in Tulsa – February 2021
I‘ve seen a lot of reminders on social media about how Black History Month is not just about honoring Black history, but also about celebrating Black excellence, both past and present. Danielle Coke (follow @ohhappydani on Instagram) shared a beautiful graphic labeled, “In Honor of Everything We Bring to the Table.” In the post, she recommended that non-Black people try to immerse themselves in Black culture for a bit. The examples she gives are:
“Watching films that center Black joy and liberation; Reading an article that tackles current issues in the community; Reading children’s books by Black authors to your kids.”
“The idea isn’t to ‘try-on Black culture’ for 28 days,” she writes, “but to form a habit of learning from, honoring, and celebrating the beauty of Black culture year-round!” Read the rest of her post here.
Please share your favorite films, articles and books that fit into these categories in the comments! (Joss would give a hearty recommendation for “Jingle Jangle,” followed by several minutes of singing his favorite songs.) And I’ve seen a lot of excitement over the fact that Disney+ will be adding the 1997 version of Cinderella to its lineup on February 12. This version stars Whitney Houston and Brandy, and I’m excited to watch it for the first time!
1. Opal’s Greenwood Oasis
“Opal’s Greenwood Oasis,” a children’s book that, according to author Quraysh Ali Lansana, very intentionally highlights “Black excellence over Black pain,” is now available at your local bookstore! The book ends just prior to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, but through Opal’s young eyes, you see the joy and closeness of the Greenwood community. So certainly that would be a wonderful place to start if you are looking for reading recommendations!
Purchase “Opal’s Greenwood Oasis” from Fulton St. Books and Coffee here. And join TulsaKids, OSU-Tulsa and Tri City Collective for this month’s Dismantling Racism event on February 17 noon. The authors and illustrator of “Opal’s Greenwood Oasis” will be talking about how their beautiful book came into being. Can’t wait to learn more!
2. Local Black History Month Activities for Kids
Rudisill Regional Library (1520 N. Hartford Ave.) is handing out “All About My Family” kits. These include an extensive “My Family” book that kids can fill out with help from their family members. It asks questions such as, “What do your siblings want to be when they grow up?” and “What is a favorite family legend or story that has been told over and over?”
I like how the introductory page in the My Family book says, “Family isn’t always who is related to you by blood. It’s who we love!” and “Families can be complicated. Try not to leave people out just because the writing prompts don’t ask about people and relational dynamics. If you don’t know some answers or have family members you haven’t met, that’s okay! Change the writing prompts to fit who you consider family.”
Also included in this kit was a Rosa Parks bookmark kids can color and a coloring sheet of a historic African American. Along with some crayons and a couple other activity sheets. Kits are available while supplies last, for kids ages 0-12.
Central Library is also handing out activity kits inspired by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. They lead young artists in drawing a blind-contour drawing and thinking about symbols that are important in their lives. To view some of Basquiat’s work and learn more about him, check out this website.
3. Buy Black Tulsa
Several local Black-owned businesses have put together a Buy Black Tulsa Campaign, which is “a challenge to get more dollars circulating in the Black economy and spotlight Black entrepreneurs in our community.” I first saw the announcement on Fulton Street’s Instagram account. You can pick up a Buy Black Tulsa booklet at Fulton Street or several other Black-owned businesses. (See the list here.) This booklet includes a directory of Black-owned businesses, organized into categories. Food & Restaurant, Retail, Health & Beauty, Mental & Medical Health, Professional Services, Photography & Video and Other. So it’s a fantastic resource to keep with you year-round.
The backdrop is part of a larger mural by Alexander Tamahn. It’s gorgeous!
Additionally, the first two pages explain how to enter the Buy Black Tulsa raffle. Make a purchase at nine highlighted businesses: Silhouette Tulsa, Fulton Street, Frio’s, Poppi’s, Mandy’s Beauty Supply, Sweet Lisa’s Cafe, Nails by Noelle, The Blu Print Studio and Sun People Yoga. With each purchase, the business will give you a sticker to put on your game board, found in the Buy Black Tulsa booklet. On March 1, stop by any of the nine businesses with your completed game board and claim your raffle ticket. Fulton Street will be announcing the winners on Instagram.
Joss and I are big fans of Frio’s and Fulton Street already. I remember having a ginger berry pop at Frio’s that was delicious, and recently had a yummy ginger latte at Fulton Street. I love ginger, apparently! We look forward to trying some new businesses, too!
4. LTO/MKT – The Shops at Mother Road Market
The LTO/MKT space at The Shops at Mother Road Market (11th and Lewis) features limited-time-only goods. This month, it’s carrying a selection of products by Black-owned businesses. They are also offering a limited run of bomber jackets featuring the work of Frankie Zombie. Half the proceeds from these jackets will go to support the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. Learn more here.
I bought a tube of this honey-cinnamon lip balm by Queen Kisses. My lips have never felt so soft, and it smells so good!
Love my new earrings by Elleir Made!
5. MetroFamily Interview
Finally, check out this video podcast from our friends at MetroFamily Magazine in OKC. Their editor, Erin Page, interviews Tulsa mom Dr. Tamecca Rogers about Black History Month in 2021. They talk about how to do a better job of honoring Black history throughout the year, why Black History Month feels differently in 2021, etc. They also discuss some children’s book projects that Dr. Rogers and her son are working on!
Do you know of other ways to honor Black history month in Tulsa? Let our readers know by commenting below! Or recommend some of your favorite Black-owned businesses!