Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month this February, we have curated a selection of resources below to help you discover, celebrate, and honor the Black linguists, orators, singers, authors, and poets whose voices and stories continue to shape the evolution and artistry of the English language.

Themed Experience

Black Voices and Stories

Celebrate Black History Month at Planet Word! Download the Black Voices and Stories Themed-Experience Guide for your next visit and enjoy the identified interactive galleries that highlight Black excellence in a variety of creative fields.

Featured Past Programs

Featured Past Program

How the Word is Passed with Clint Smith

February 01, 2022 | 8:00 p.m.

When poet and Atlantic staff writer Clint Smith set out to explore how the history of American slavery is interpreted and memorialized, he did so with an open mind and…

Featured Past Program

The Queens’ English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases

February 09, 2021 | 6:30 p.m.

From abigail to zucchinis and hundreds of words and phrases in between, LGBTQIA+ lingo carries with it a vast history. Words like in the life, bulldyke, and bulldagger were born from the 1920s Harlem Renaissance era. The lesbian bar…

Featured Past Program

How Words Saved Halim Flowers’ Life

January 19, 2021 | 6:30 p.m.

D.C. native Halim Flowers is a poet, artist, writer, activist, entrepreneur, new dad, and convicted felon who was sent to prison for life at age 16. There he discovered the…

Black History Month Reading List

At Planet Word, we feature the words and works of numerous Black linguists, orators, singers, authors, and poets on our walls, in our galleries, and in our Present Perfect gift shop. Check out this list of books from celebrated Black authors on our storefront.

Read the list
Language Matters

Talking Black in America

African American English is one of the most controversial language varieties in the United States. Its speakers are often criticized as speaking “bad English,” but its rappers, musicians, poets, and performers have driven countless musical innovations and pop culture trends in the United States. The documentary Talking Black in America tells the complicated story of African American English through interviews with linguists and conversations with native speakers.

Stories Matter

Empathy, Art, and Telling Important Stories

Planet Word Advisor Jason Reynolds is the bestselling author of many award-winning books, including Long Way Down, which is featured in our magical Schwarzman Family Library. In this Q&A, we ask Reynolds some questions about the role of empathy in his work and the importance of telling stories like Long Way Down.