Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Things To Do For Black History Month Days 1 & 2

I spent a little time thinking about what I could do on this blog for Black History Month. The little profiles and stuff were half-assed last year, so this time I want to do something that will last the whole month.

I decided to come up with Things To Do For Black History Month. Not exactly the most creative title, I know. What this means is that everyday for the month of February, I will post one interesting thing to do for Black History Month. Some of them will be pretty obvious, but others will differ from the norm. I look at Black History Month (or African-American History Month) not just as a time to learn and reflect on history, but to celebrate black culture in all its forms. There is a lot more to it than learning about Rosa Parks and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

So, here are the first two things to do for the month, since I didn't post this when it was still February 1st.

Things To Do For Black History Month Day 1: Read A Slave Narrative
Slavery is a topic that is always brought up during Black History Month. It's an important (and disturbing) part of not just Black History but American History as well. It's also something that many feel has repurcussions even today. There is no better way to understand how horrible slavery was than to read a book written by a former slave. There are two books I read in college that I'd like to reccommend: Narrative In The Life Of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass and Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. Both books are powerful, gut-wrenching, and well-written.

Things To Do For Black History Month Day 2: Listen To Some Good Hip-Hop Music
Hip-hop music has been criticized ever since its inception. However, it has grown to be the most influential form of music out there today. With all its growth, though, has come mainstream mediocrity. There is a lot of mindless crap played on the radio today, plain and simple. However, there are great hip-hop albums out there that may even change the minds of the most ardent hip-hop hater. Here are a few:

  • The First Three Albums By A Tribe Called Quest (People's Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, The Low End Theory, and Midnight Marauders)

  • 3 Feet High And Rising and De La Soul Is Dead by De La Soul

  • Illmatic by Nas

  • ATLiens and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by OutKast

  • Quality Control by Jurassic 5

  • Moment of Truth and Full Clip: A Decade of Gang Starr by Gang Starr

  • The College Dropout by Kanye West

  • Quality by Talib Kweli

  • Black On Both Sides by Mos Def

  • Resurrection and Like Water For Chocolate by Common

  • Things Fall Apart by The Roots

  • The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill

  • The Best Of Eric B. & Rakim (or whatever greatest hits album they have)

  • Fear of A Black Planet and It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back by Public Enemy

  • Licensed To Ill and Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys

  • Supreme Clientele by Ghostface Killah

  • Endtroducing... by DJ Shadow

There are probably many other albums I could name, but I tried to show the depth and variety of hip-hop music. At least one of these albums will please the palate of a music lover.

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