February is Black History Month, a special time to celebrate the momentous achievements and contributions of African Americans. One of the most powerful ways to preserve and share this rich history is through storytelling.
The Tradition of Storytelling
Storytelling has always been a fundamental part of African American culture. The sharing of stories was especially important when barriers on education prevented minorities from writing down their own history. Through storytelling, they were able to pass down the experiences of their ancestors, the struggles they faced, and the traditions and values that were important to their communities.
African Americans have also used their stories to challenge oppressive systems and to celebrate their own experiences and cultural heritage. Storytelling gives a voice to those who have been marginalized and oppressed for hundreds of years, and provides a platform for Black people to shape the narrative of their own history. This is especially important in a world where Black voices have historically been excluded from mainstream books and media.
Storytelling to Educate and Inspire
Storytelling remains a powerful tool for education and inspiration. It allows people to connect with history on a personal level and to see how the struggles and triumphs of the past have shaped the world today. By sharing stories of Black leaders, activists, and everyday people, we can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges they have overcome. At MemoryFox, we pledge to listen, learn, and uplift these stories with empathy.
Today, storytelling continues to play a vital role in shaping Black identity and promoting cultural understanding. Here are five incredible Black storytellers who have done exactly that:
- Maya Angelou: A poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, who is widely recognized for her works that explore the themes of race, identity, and resilience. Her most famous work, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” is a memoir that tells the story of her childhood and early adulthood as a Black woman in America.
- James Baldwin: A novelist, playwright, and essayist, who is known for his insightful commentary on race, sexuality, and American society. His works, such as “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “The Fire Next Time,” have been widely influential and are studied today.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates: An author and journalist, who is known for his writing on race, politics, and history. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books, including “Between the World and Me,” a letter to his son about the reality of being black in America.
- Roxane Gay: An writer, professor, and cultural critic, who is known for her writing on race, gender, and sexuality. Her books, including “Bad Feminist” and “Hunger,” are a mix of memoir and cultural commentary, and offer insightful perspectives on modern issues.
- Ava DuVernay: A film director, screenwriter, and producer, who is known for her work in the film industry. She is the first black woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her film “Middle of Nowhere,” and has also directed several highly acclaimed films, including “Selma” and “When They See Us.”
But it doesn’t stop there. This is just a snapshot of talent. At MemoryFox, we are lucky to work with numerous organizations with missions which focus on the betterment of minority communities. They use storytelling to elevate their platforms, raise awareness, increase fundraising and to build a better future.
MemoryFox Storytellers Making a Difference
- Mission: HomeFree-USA is on a mission to be the premier bridge to financial strength and homeownership success for people of color across America. They perform this mission through their 5 focus areas: Homeownership, HBCU Development, Business Growth, Housing Development, Government Services
- Impact: 40k homebuyers served nationwide, 0% client foreclosure rate, and more!
- Testimonial from Tamika & Dexter: “We were able to build a relationship with HomeFree-USA that we feel like we’ll have for the rest of our lives. HomeFree-USA helped make homeownership a reality for us and showed us that it wasn’t as far-fetched as we thought it would be.”
- Mission: With a vision of equity for all, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS) empowers those we serve by providing programming and services designed to support and encourage self-sufficiency in all aspects of life. Their 5 areas of focus include: advocacy & civic engagement, education, housing, public health and workforce development.
- Impact: 3,225 families served annually, Over $15 million to combat rental assistance and eviction prevention, and more!
- Testimonial: To support their public health focus, learn how ULMS used MemoryFox to battle vaccine hesitancy in their community.
- Mission: Based in Detroit, Focus: HOPE’s mission is to recognize the dignity and beauty of every person. They pledge intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice, and to build a metropolitan community where all people may live in freedom, harmony, trust and affection.
- Impact: 41k+ meals served to seniors monthly with 251 partners, $26k average net worth increased for 321 students, and more!
- Testimonial from an “Earn & Learn” Graduate: “They have done everything in their power to help me during the time that I didn’t have work. They helped me to find work, they helped me with transportation, and to get to and from school.”
Storytelling to Build a Better World
Overall, Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the contributions of African Americans and amplify their stories . By recognizing the power of storytelling, we can continue to uplift and promote Black history, culture, and heritage. Storytelling can, and will, inspire the next generation of Black leaders and activists. By hearing the stories of those who have made a difference, the next generation will be inspired to make an impact on the world.
MemoryFox remains committed to elevating the stories of minorities through our platform. We truly believe that every story deserves to be heard. That’s exactly why we provide an equitable pricing model, based on your nonprofit’s most recent 990, and have made a commitment to ethical storytelling.