I’m so excited to celebrate Black History Month on the blog this year. Growing up, it was always the most awkward month of the year, and gradually I came to dread and resent it. It seemed like every February I was suddenly supposed to have some genetic knowledge of all the great African Americans who had contributed to the culture, health, industry, and more of this great nation. I felt like screaming, ‘I’m new here! My family is new here! I don’t know anything!’ Instead, I buried my head in the sand and tried to avoid the whole thing.
But over the past few years, two fellow sewing people have ‘done the damn thing’ for Black History Month – I’m talking about Nettie @sownbrooklyn and Kristina @kehdeebee. They drop amazing knowledge daily about great African Americans in our country’s history every February. I look forward to it all year, I save every post, and I reread them. Some of these people fought through so much, and still accomplished so much, I get shivers. I’ve cried over more than one of their post over the years. If you’re not following them, go follow them now! At the very least, go back and check out their posts for past Black History Months.
The other effect of their knowledge was permission to not know everything, and a challenge to contribute what I can. So here we are in 2020 and Black History Month is finally getting it’s time on Making the Flame! I believe cultural history is embedded in the clothing and accessories we design, because our family and upbringing are the foundation of our lives. The aesthetic and skills we observed or were trained in growing up, never leave us.
Black History Month on Making the Flame this year celebrates Black history in America through people who are here today, sewing and making clothing and other items – often times, using the same techniques as generations of African Americans who came before them. There will be a pair of articles and a pair of interviews showcasing those who are making and continuing Black history right now. The articles will be profiles of creative African Americans who endured great adversity but still persevered in their creative occupation. The interviews introduce contemporary creatives making their mark in this new, digital age. These four posts will post on two Mondays and two Wednesdays in February, starting on Monday the 3rd.
I hope that we can learn some new things together this Black History Month, and that perhaps one day all this knowledge will be mainstream info that we learn about year round.