Why not? The goal for Black Heritage Week is to evolve into something as widely celebrated as Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson conceived of Negro History Week in 1926 as a time to celebrate achievements and important events, remember those we’ve lost, and raise awareness of Black history. He chose a week in February that includes the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Black Heritage Week began in Baltimore City as a week in August that celebrates the birthday of Marcus Garvey. Since then, the idea has grown and this year’s observance will include celebrations in communities all over the diaspora. It is a time to reflect on our history, celebrate our present, honor our past, and plan for our future. It is also about shopping with Black businesses, supporting our Black artists and professionals, and participating in the programming of our Black cultural institutions.

“The activities and practices that take place during Black Heritage Week are rooted in love and community empowerment. Resources are shared to ensure the sustainability of the observance and those practices,” says Jendayi Lynn Robinson who conceived and launched Black Heritage Week in 2017. “Our hope is that this week will become ingrained in our collective experience alongside other such observances—so that the culture that is so important to society as a whole is continually embraced and celebrated.”​

BHW is observed during the 3rd week of August, which coincides with the commemoration of the birth of Marcus Garvey, who was born on August 17, 1887, and whose message of economic empowerment across the African Diaspora remains significant and continues to resonate within the larger context of community empowerment.


“Beautify & Codify”

“If it is to be, it’s up to WE!” Organize community cleanups and beautification projects where you live, work, and worship.

“Spend Black”

That’s it. Spend your time and your $$ supporting Black Businesses, both online and especially in your own city or neighborhood. Intentionally support Black-owned and centered arts organizations, businesses, and restaurants in your community. We hope to elevate these city institutions and encourage economic development by circulating our dollars in our own communities.

“Be The Village”

It takes a village to raise a child, and that is doubly true in the midst of this global pandemic!! We encourage all citizens, especially those who work in human services, to “Be The Village” for Youth in need of support! The BHW Planning Team will publish a listing of community organizations offering volunteer opportunities.​

“How We See Us”

Explore films and television programs by Black Filmmakers and enjoy them with your family and friends. The BHW Planning Team will publish links throughout the week.


Libation Ceremonies & Ancestral Tributes

Let’s celebrate our lost loved ones through Libation! A Libation Ceremony is an ancient form of prayer. A petition is made while pouring water or alcohol to the Creator and to the passed over ancestors, for their assistance with our human affairs. The libation is symbolic of invoking these energies. We speak aloud the names of those we have lost. It is customary to say a prayer giving thanks and appreciation for the guidance and blessings received.