Is Black History Month about History? This is the question that gave birth to our theme Seeds of Change. Are we supposed to showcase historical figures and historical events? Are we limited to events that happened 25 years ago or longer? Or is Black History Month about celebrating the accomplishments of Black people both past and present?
We are excited to showcase Black authors found in every genre. Stories published about the Black experience were once very limited, but the opportunities have grown and now we can find Black authors in romance, sci-fi, mystery, graphic novels, in adult, children’s and YA and not to mention all the various areas of interest in non-fiction!
This year we wanted to find a way to celebrate what is happening today, but we also felt it important to remember the history. We want to honor those who fought for freedom, who fought for voting rights, who fought for civil rights, who fought for equality–all people who may be deemed the Black Resistance. The battles they fought, however, were not for the sake of battling, but rather in hopes that one day, there would be a day that could be spent not battling and simply surviving but flourishing.
Born out of this discussion came the prompt that we would hand over to local artist Ashanté Josey: “Seeds of Change,” a way to honor our ancestors and those who have gone before us—those who have done the work that has enabled the current generation to grow and flower, in various, diverse ways. We could not be more pleased with what she came back with!
Ashanté is a local Black artist whose work, focused on Black spirituality, is “symbolic of the interconnectedness of humans and nature.” Her art takes form in a way that supports our theme and our desire to honor the past while platforming the artists creating our future. We are so proud to be working with an artist whose values so closely align with our vision for Black History Month 2023.
We hope that this year’s artwork will provoke you to seek new ways to celebrate the diversity of Black history and art. Check out some of Ashanté’s work on her website!