Our history as black people was, at a time, difficult to access. But today, that knowledge is at our fingertips, thanks to the Internet.
Black History Month reminds us of the need to learn about our history as Africans and people of African descent. It also reminds us to honor the accomplishments and contributions of our ancestors. And that’s an important reminder. Because as Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian Institution, once said:
“There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honoring our struggle and ancestors by remembering.”
Mainstream media often presents warped portrayals of our history. So it’s important to dig independently into our past, and remind ourselves that our story as Blacks did not begin with racism or slavery.
In this article a few online resources to help your learning. Specifically, we share 14 carefully-selected platforms where you can learn about often untold aspects black history.
Best Black History YouTube Channels
From the lesser-known stories to the more familiar ones, these YouTube channels uncover important truths about Black history in fun and unique ways.
1. From Nothing
Did you know that successful cesarean sections were performed in Africa long before the introduction of the modern western method?
British explorer and medical student Robert William, had a first-hand experience of the procedure in 1879 in modern-day Uganda. Fortunately, he recounted his experience for the history books.
How did I find this out? You guessed it! I learned about it on the From Nothing YouTube channel.
From Nothing aims to spotlight Africa’s rich and exciting history. It uses documentary-styled, animated movies that accurately retell Africa’s history and change the negative narrative and perceptions of the continent. This channel is a mine of fun facts and interesting stories about Africa.
Robert E. Peary is recognized as the first man to reach the North Pole. But his achievement was not without the support of his assistant, Mathew Alexander Henson—an African American sailor, navigator, and carpenter.
Truth be told, Matthew Henson’s story is relatively popular. But it’s not unusual for Black contributions to monumental events to be downplayed. That’s why, Noire Histoir focuses on retelling the stories of oft-overlooked Black icons.
The channel celebrates black achievers (like Henson) through inspirational and motivational stories of excellence and power from across the Black diaspora. If you want to dig even deeper, check out their book reviews and podcasts on their website.
NB: In case you were wondering, Matthew Henson is, indeed, a relative of Hollywood movie actress, Taraji P. Henson.
Imagine my surprise when I found the inventor of the first home security system and closed circuit television was a black woman! You can learn all about her and other amazing Black pioneers on the Black History Buff YouTube channel.
One thing I cherish about this channel is it’s succinctness — it presents each story in short 3-7 minute clips that capture viewers attention.
So hoist the sails and join the crew on a journey through Black history that will leave you inspired and amazed!
Fun Fact: Back in the late 17th century, the Bank of England minted a coin called Guinea, because it was made from gold mined from the Guinea coast of Africa.
If you love walking tours, you should check out the Black History Walks website. They offer tours of historical sites, showcasing the vital links between Black Britons and Africa. They also organize river cruises and bus tours that focus on Black history.
5. Tony Brown
It’s fitting to end this list with the longest-running Black news program in television history — The Tony Brown Journal. This channel covers documentaries, commentaries and surveys aimed at Black audiences.
William Anthony Brown, the mastermind behind this channel, is a true renaissance man. He draws from his varied experience in activism, writing, producing, filmmaking, and education to create gripping content.
If you’re looking for some serious insights and thought provoking opinions on Black matters, this is one YouTube Channel to look at.
Influencer Accounts to Follow on Black History Month
1. Black Archives
@blackarchives.co on Instagram.
Here, you’d find collections of archival images and documents covering crucial historical moments in everyday life. The account presents Black experience in the most aesthetic way possible.
2. Ijeoma Oluo
@ijeomaoluo on Instagram.
Ijeoma is an ardent speaker and bestselling author on anti-race. Her work gained more interest following George Floyd’s death in 2020. Her New York Times best-seller books include “So You Want to Talk About Race (2018) and MEDIOCRE (2020).
3. Rachel Cargle
@rachel.cargle on Instagram.
Rachel is a NYC-based anti-racism activist, and author. She educates her followers on black history and other topics via her Instagram account.
4. Kayne Kawasaki
@kaynekawasaki on TikTok.
Kayne is a UK based TikTok influencer who creates videos on Black History and culture. He’s given a TEDx Talk on the topic “The 3 P’s of Cultural Appropriation.” He has also consulted for English Heritage and Notting Hill Carnival.
5. Taylor Cassidy
@taylorcassidyj on TikTok
Taylor is a 20-year-old American, teaching black history and unsung Black figures in the most engaging way to thousands of followers.
Top Documentaries on Black History
Documentaries link our past and present. From groundbreaking victories to heart-wrenching defeats, they help us to relive past experiences and increase our appreciation for how far we’ve come. Check out these documentaries traversing Black history, and heritage.
1. Black Panthers (1968)
This documentary centers around the fight for the freedom of imprisoned Huey P. Newton, one of the co-founders of the Black Panther Party. The BPP is largely considered the most influential black movement organization of the late 1960s, and that makes them worth learning about.
2. Slavery by Another Name (2012)
Based on a Pulitzer Prize winning book of the same title, Slavery by Another Name is a 90-minute documentary that exposes the brutal realities of the post-Emancipation Proclamation era. It reveals the strategies used to re-enslave and force men to work without pay. This documentary challenges the widely held belief that slavery ended following the Civil War.
3. More Than a Month (2012)
More Than a Month is a humorous and thought-provoking 53-minute film that captures the journey of a young, African-American Filmmaker, Shukree Hassan Tilghman, as he travels around the country on a campaign to (ironically) end Black History Month.
And before you get riled up, the basis for his strong stance is that black history is not separate from American history. And so it’s an insult to treat Black history as a contribution rather than a critical element in shaping the United States.
4. Dark Girls (2011)
In Dark Girls, black women share their painful experiences within the African-American community and the impact of prejudice on their lives. It includes interviews from tens of men and women, including EGOT-winning actress, Viola Davis. It also includes clips showing the extent to which black children have internalized colorism.
And that’s it. Which of these sources will you binge on? And if you’ve got some more, do share with us.
- World Economy Forum: Black History Month: What is it and why do we need it?
- ASALH: Black History theme
- YouTube, From Nothing: Successful cesarean sections were performed in Africa
- YouTube, Noire Histoir: The first man to reach the North Pole
- YouTube, Black History Buff: The first inventor of the home security system and closed circuit television
- YouTube, Blackhistorywalks: Exciting facts
- YouTube, Blackhistorywalks: black hair bondage
- Blackhistorywalks: blackhistorywalks
- YouTube, Tony Brown: The Tear on the Face of America
- YouTube, Tony Brown: Was AIDS invented?
- TED: The 3 P’s of Cultural Appropriation