10 Ways to Commemorate Black History Month in the Workplace 

10 Ways to Commemorate Black History Month in the Workplace 

As a candidate entering a new professional environment, understanding how an organization observes and embraces Black History Month is crucial for your cultural integration and overall experience. Celebrating this month is more than a symbolic gesture; it’s a chance to highlight the African-American community’s achievements.

As the emphasis on diversity, empathy, and inclusion (DEI) continues to become more important at work, fully embracing and celebrating Black History is recognized as essential.

Employees should feel valued, acknowledged, supported, heard, and represented. So, how can you embrace the spirit of this commemorative month? Here are 10 meaningful ways organizations and employees can embody the values of Black History Month daily, from supporting Black-owned businesses to advancing education.


What is Black History Month? 

Black History Month originated as Negro History Week in 1917. Carter G. Woodson, an author, journalist, and historian often known as the “father of black history,” passionately advocated for recognizing black narratives and viewpoints nationwide.

In 1976, President Ford expanded the observance to a month, establishing February as Black History Month—a tradition that continues today. During this month, we honor the lasting impact and contributions of African Americans, celebrating figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, and more.

Woodson believed true equality comes through acknowledging and understanding a race’s history. As such, Black History Month focuses on the achievements of significant black individuals, providing a platform for inclusive figures whose voices were historically marginalized. It’s crucial to acknowledge historical racism and celebrate “Black joy,” culture, and achievements equally.


Celebrating Black History Month in the Workplace

Discussing race in the workplace can be a sensitive matter, and some organizations might attempt to put less effort into promoting equality. However, being “colorblind” often backfires – it heightens perceptions of bias among minority groups instead of reducing it.

This effect is clearly visible in the workplace discrimination statistics. According to Gallup, 24 percent of black workers and 24 percent of Hispanic workers in the United States have faced discrimination at work within the past year.¹ When companies downplay demographic differences, it reinforces feelings of bias.

So, here’s a tip: Don’t be colorblind. Encourage co-workers to openly discuss, appreciate, and take pride in their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Keeping this in mind, let’s explore some other best practices for Black History Month—and any cultural or ethnic celebration.

Related Reading: DEI Tips for Government Call Centers: How to Create a More Inclusive Work Environment 


1. Support local Black-owned businesses.

A powerful way to endorse black excellence and entrepreneurship is by patronizing black-owned businesses. This positively influences lives and acknowledges the robust diversity within your community.

For example, you purchased groceries from a local black-owned supermarket rather than a larger chain. In doing so, you’re contributing to the success of the black entrepreneur who owns the store. You’re also acknowledging and celebrating the diversity present in your community.

Your choice to support this business goes beyond a simple transaction; it is also becoming a meaningful contribution to the local economy and an acknowledgement of the importance of diverse voices in the entrepreneurial landscape.


2. Gift your team with items from Black-owned businesses.

Spread some love by gifting your co-workers something that supports a black-owned business. Whether it’s a work-related item, a leisure activity accessory, or a morning beverage, this is an excellent way to kick off Black History Month.

These gifts can be paired with a team lunch featuring food from black-owned restaurants in the area to add a special touch to your celebration.

This initiative highlights black-owned businesses and urges employees to support growing businesses and entrepreneurs. It fosters team bonding as colleagues come together to celebrate Black History Month, contributing to an inclusive and supportive work environment aligned with the goals of Black History Month.


3. Seek DEI training opportunities.

Recognizing the significance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is important for creating an inclusive workplace. As a candidate, consider organizations that invest in DEI training by bringing in external experts and guest speakers.

Professionals in DEI possess the exercises, perspectives, and skills necessary to ensure that everyone in the office understands how to collaborate effectively and consistently show respect for each other’s backgrounds and differences.

How does this idea support Black History Month? DEI training is highly relevant to black history. Frequently, people avoid addressing racial issues directly, treating them like an unspoken problem. Investing in DEI allows one to change this approach, fostering sensitivity and empathy.

Related Reading: Empower, Engage, Excel: Building a Culture of Learning in Your Organization 


4. Inspire colleagues to learn Black History.

Introduce your team to the diverse contributions made by black individuals in America and encourage them to explore more through trivia games. Make questions that cover everything from significant figures to pop culture moments.

This game provides an entertaining way for employees, coworkers, and managers to spend hours exploring the rich heritage that black people bring into this world.


5. Contribute to Employee Resource Groups.

Engage in or actively participate in Diversity and Inclusion Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within your company. These groups frequently arrange events and facilitate open dialogues, providing employees with a platform to contribute to developing an inclusive workplace culture.

You can join events like Black History Month celebrations, attend seminars on the historical contributions of black leaders, and engage in discussions about fostering an inclusive workplace for black employees. This engagement actively contributes to shaping a workplace culture that recognizes and appreciates the richness of black history.


6. Offer your time and provide mentorship to youth of color.

Volunteering your time as a mentor is an excellent work idea for Black History Month. Look for opportunities to mentor a young person or join an organization dedicated to mentoring youth of color. Extend the chance to become a mentor within the company and inform coworkers or employees about reputable organizations to engage with.

Mentoring involves providing guidance and assistance to those in need. Celebrate Black History Month by extending mentorship to marginalized and underprivileged young individuals. While historical practices like red-lining disadvantaged the African-American community for many years, we can contribute to present efforts to enhance equality and opportunity.


7. Decorate workspaces mindfully.

Embrace the spirit of Black History Month by transforming your workspace or common areas with meaningful decorations. Consider decorating walls with inspiring posters showcasing influential black leaders, displaying artwork that captures the essence of black culture, or setting up informative displays featuring notable achievements.

For instance, you might showcase a poster series highlighting figures like Martin Luther King Jr. with informative displays outlining their groundbreaking contributions to civil rights, literature, or activism. This visually engaging transformation not only fosters awareness but also creates an environment that pays homage to the profound impact of black history.


8. Deepen understanding through literature.

Reading has been proven to make people more empathetic. Both fiction and non-fiction help us see real-world issues from a less defensive and biased perspective. Starting a book club is a good way to foster empathy at work, particularly for black employees, and to delve deeper into African-American history.

Select books by black authors that focus on the challenges and triumphs of black women and men throughout history. Consider Maya Angelou, an author and activist often regarded as a spokesperson for African Americans and women. Her numerous works connect with people dedicated to elevating the moral standards of living in the United States.

Complementing this initiative, enhance shared learning by collaborating with your Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion leader to organize consciousness-raising workshops. These workshops can feature local historians or community group speakers, providing immersive storytelling and fostering open dialogues to deepen cultural literacy and empathy for the black experience.


9. Support a Black charitable cause.

Celebrate Black History Month by donating to an organization or nonprofit that supports the black community. It’s a great way to make a positive impact for African Americans without requiring a significant time commitment.

Arguably, one of the most straightforward ways to support Black History Month is to encourage yourself and your colleagues to support an organization dedicated to a meaningful cause.

Organizations like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports education for black students, and the National Urban League, which works towards economic empowerment and equality, are reputable charities. You can support these trusted organizations or find local initiatives that address specific community needs.


10. Maximize social media’s impact.

During Black History Month, encourage your colleagues to use their social media accounts as a platform to raise awareness about black culture and amplify the voices of black-owned businesses. Encourage teams to create impactful posts celebrating Black History with stories and experiences across various platforms to engage a broader audience.

Using social media expands the reach of Black History Month beyond office walls, allowing more people to learn about its significance for the workplace and community. Leverage social media channels to share your company’s involvement in this special month, including planned activities and events.

To get started, encourage co-workers to share Black History Month-inspired posts, providing them with hashtags like #BlackHistoryMonth for increased exposure to showcase their unique stories and amplify their voices.

Read More: How Do You Create a Diverse Workforce?



At Salem Solutions, our commitment to diversity is a cornerstone of who we are. We believe an organization is at its strongest when it includes voices from every corner, reflecting a blend of cultures, talents, and experiences.

Your story adds to our success, and we encourage you to be a part of our ongoing journey towards a more inclusive environment. Contact us today, and let’s create a narrative of strength, diversity, and impact together.



1 Lloyd, Camille. “One in Four Black Workers Report Discrimination at Work.” Gallup.com, 12 Jan. 2021, news.gallup.com/poll/328394/one-four-black-workers-report-discrimination-work.aspx.

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