As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s essential to explore the diverse narratives that shape the African American experience. TED Talks, renowned for sparking deep conversations and sharing groundbreaking ideas, have become a vital platform for amplifying voices from the Black community.
These talks delve into a wide array of topics, from the arts and sciences to social justice and personal identity, offering rich insights and perspectives. This collection of TED talks on black history month highlights the power of storytelling, the importance of representation, and the ongoing fight for equality, underscoring the significance of engaging with these themes not just in February but throughout the year.
Related: Black Month Resources for Teachers
TED Talks on Black History Month
Here’s some popular TED talks on black history:
1. Can Art Amend History? Titus Kaphar , 2017
In a stirring demonstration of how art can confront and challenge the narratives of history, Titus Kaphar invites us into a live workshop where he alters a replica of a 17th-century Frans Hals painting. Kaphar’s technique of obscuring parts of the painting brings to light the hidden stories within, challenging us to reconsider the narratives that have been coded in art for centuries. His work eloquently questions what happens when we shift our focus and dare to confront the unspoken truths of history. This talk is a compelling reminder of art’s power not just to reflect but to amend the historical record, urging a reevaluation of diversity and progress through the lens of artistic expression.
2. The Most Powerful Woman You’ve Never Heard Of, T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison , 2018
T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison shine a light on Septima Clark, a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement whose story is not as widely known as it should be. Dubbed “the architect of the civil rights movement” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Clark’s educational blueprint empowered a generation of activists, including Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer. Dixon and Garrison, inspired by Clark’s legacy, discuss their initiative, GirlTrek, which embodies Clark’s strategies for social change. This talk underscores the indispensable role of women in the fight for civil rights and the importance of carrying their legacy forward.
3, The Mission to Safeguard Black History in the US, Julieanna L. Richardson , 2021
Julieanna L. Richardson takes us through the critical work of The HistoryMakers, an extensive national archive dedicated to preserving African American oral histories. Richardson’s talk highlights the incredible, yet often unrecognized, contributions of Black Americans to the nation’s history. By documenting these legacies, The HistoryMakers aims to ensure that future generations can learn from and be inspired by the profound achievements and experiences of Black Americans. This presentation is a powerful call to action to recognize and preserve the rich tapestry of Black history in the United States.
4. How Black Queer Culture Shaped History, Channing Gerard Joseph, 2022
In an enlightening exploration of forgotten icons, Channing Gerard Joseph delves into the stories of Black queer leaders who played pivotal roles in major movements like emancipation, civil rights, and LGBTQ+ pride. Joseph’s research uncovers the origins of drag in the 1880s and connects it to the present day, showcasing the significant impact of Black queer culture on history. This talk is a tribute to those whose contributions have been erased from mainstream narratives, reminding us of the power of inclusivity and recognition in historical storytelling.
5. The Origins of Blackface and Black Stereotypes, Dwan Reece, 2019
Dwan Reece offers a crucial history lesson on the origins and implications of blackface, a practice deeply rooted in American culture and history. As a curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Reece explains how blackface has perpetuated harmful stereotypes and contributed to a legacy of oppression. This talk challenges us to confront and understand the painful realities of racial caricatures and their lasting impact on society.
6. The Radical, Revolutionary Resilience of Black Joy, Miracle Jones , 2021
Miracle Jones discusses the transformative power of joy as an act of resistance and survival for Black communities. Amidst trauma and adversity, finding and embracing joy becomes a radical act of defiance against oppression. Jones’s heartfelt meditation on Black joy as a form of protection and resilience offers a poignant reminder of the strength found in happiness and the importance of nurturing hope in the face of darkness.
7. The Black History of Twerking — And How It Taught Me Self-Love, Lizzo , 2021
In an energetic presentation, Lizzo takes us through the cultural and historical journey of twerking, connecting it to its roots in West African dance traditions. She highlights how this expressive form of dance has been kept alive and evolving through the generations by Black women, linking it from blues and jazz to modern rap and hip-hop. Lizzo shares her personal journey of self-acceptance and body positivity, underscored by her engagement with twerking. This talk not only entertains but also educates on the importance of acknowledging and respecting the origins of cultural phenomena to prevent erasure and misappropriation of Black culture.
8. The Urgency of Intersectionality, Kimberlé Crenshaw, 2016
Kimberlé Crenshaw introduces the concept of intersectionality, a critical lens for understanding how race and gender biases overlap to create complex forms of discrimination. Crenshaw emphasizes the dangers faced by individuals who exist at these intersections of identity, sharing poignant stories that illustrate the deadly consequences of not recognizing these realities. Her powerful call to action urges us to witness and speak up against the intertwined nature of prejudice, making a compelling case for the necessity of intersectional feminism and social justice.
9. The Great Migration and the Power of a Single Decision, Isabel Wilkerson, 2017
Isabel Wilkerson delves into the transformative period of the Great Migration, where six million African Americans left the oppressive regimes of the Jim Crow South for hopes of a better life in the North and West. This mass movement, driven by the pursuit of dignity and self-determination, reshaped the social, cultural, and political landscape of America. Wilkerson’s narrative captures the monumental impact of individual decisions that collectively led to one of the most significant shifts in American history, emphasizing the enduring quest for freedom and equality.
10. We Need to Talk About an Injustice, Bryan Stevenson, 2012
In a deeply personal and persuasive talk, Bryan Stevenson shares the alarming realities of the American justice system’s racial disparities. With compelling anecdotes, including interactions with his grandmother and Rosa Parks, Stevenson exposes the systemic injustice that disproportionately affects Black men in the United States. He calls for a closer examination of America’s history with racism and an increased commitment to justice and reconciliation, stressing the power of proximity, narrative change, and hope in creating a more equitable society.
11. Embrace Your Raw, Strange Magic, Casey Gerald, 2018
Casey Gerald challenges the audience to reconsider the societal norms and expectations that dictate how we live and who we become. Through his personal journey, Gerald articulates the cost of conforming and hiding parts of oneself for acceptance and success. He advocates for embracing our unique, unpolished selves—our “raw, strange magic”—as a path to true fulfillment and change. This talk is a powerful reminder of the courage it takes to be authentic in a world that often demands conformity.
12. How We Can Start to Heal the Pain of Racial Division, Ruby Sales, 2018
Ruby Sales provides a profound inquiry into the American soul, asking, “Where does it hurt?” Her talk reflects on the deep-seated racial divisions and the enduring legacy of racism in the United States. Drawing from her rich experience as a civil rights activist, Sales offers insights into the healing process, emphasizing the importance of understanding and addressing the historical and emotional wounds of racism. She calls for a compassionate and inclusive approach to building pathways towards racial justice and unity.
13. Color Blind or Color Brave? Mellody Hobson, 2014
Mellody Hobson challenges us to confront the discomfort of discussing race head-on, arguing that being “color brave” rather than “color blind” can lead to positive changes in business and society. As a finance executive, Hobson emphasizes the importance of diversity in hiring, showcasing how open conversations about race not only foster inclusivity but also drive innovation and growth. Her persuasive call to action invites us to embrace these discussions as necessary steps towards a more equitable and just world.
14. The Untapped Genius That Could Change Science for the Better, Jedidah Isler, 2015
Jedidah Isler shares her journey to becoming the first black woman to earn a PhD in astrophysics from Yale, underscoring the critical value of diversity in STEM fields. Isler’s personal story highlights the obstacles faced by underrepresented groups in science and the transformative potential that their inclusion holds. She advocates for a more diverse scientific community, where unique perspectives fuel innovation and discovery, making the case for systemic change to embrace and cultivate this untapped genius.
15. 3 Ways to Speak English, Jamila Lyiscott, 2014
In her dynamic spoken-word essay, Jamila Lyiscott celebrates the complexity of being a “tri-tongued orator,” navigating through three distinct forms of English in her daily life. Lyiscott unpacks the rich history and identity embedded in language, challenging the notions of what it means to be “articulate.” Her performance is a powerful commentary on linguistic diversity and the nuanced ways in which cultural identity is expressed and perceived.
16. A Historical Musical that Examines Black Identity in the 1901 World’s Fair, Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, 2019
Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin provides a glimpse into her innovative musical “At Buffalo,” which delves into the conflicting representations of Black identity at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition. Through a mix of performance and discussion, Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin draws parallels between the past and present, questioning the progress made in addressing racial stereotypes and societal perceptions of Black identity. Her work invites audiences to reflect on the narratives we inherit and the ones we choose to tell.
17. The Danger of Silence, Clint Smith, 2014
Clint Smith delivers a poignant message on the imperative of speaking up against ignorance and injustice. Through poetry, Smith articulates the cost of silence in the face of oppression, urging us to use our voices as tools for change. His compelling call to action reminds us that silence often perpetuates harm, and that courageously speaking out is vital for societal transformation.
18. A Visual History of Social Dance in 25 Moves, Camille A. Brown , 2016
Camille A. Brown explores the vibrant legacy of African-American social dances, celebrating them as expressions of cultural identity, resistance, and freedom. Through an electrifying demonstration, Brown illustrates how these dances serve as both a historical archive and a living, evolving form of communication and community. Her talk and performance underscore the importance of dance as a medium for storytelling and collective empowerment.
19. A Celebration of Natural Hair, Cheyenne Cochrane, 2016
Cheyenne Cochrane delves into the significance of hair texture in the Black community, tracing its impact from the post-Civil War era to the present. Cochrane’s discussion on the journey towards embracing natural hair is a broader reflection on societal beauty standards, identity, and self-acceptance. She champions the movement towards natural hair
In conclusion, TED Talks on Black History Month serve as a poignant reminder of the complexity, resilience, and vibrancy of the Black experience. Each speaker brings forth their unique perspective, shedding light on the historical struggles and triumphs of African Americans. From the arts to science, from the fight for justice to the celebration of cultural heritage, these talks encourage us to reflect on our shared history and the work that still lies ahead.
They challenge us to be “color brave,” embrace our “raw, strange magic,” and understand the deep roots of cultural expressions like twerking or the significance of natural hair. More than just a series of presentations, these TED Talks are a call to action—a prompt to engage in meaningful conversations, challenge our biases, and contribute to building a more inclusive and equitable society.
Title: Best TED Talks on Black History Month
Source: Educational Technology
Source URL: https://www.educatorstechnology.com
Date: February 12, 2024 at 03:10PM
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