Celebrating Black History Month: African Americans and the Arts

February is Black History Month in the U.S. and Canada, and Blackbaud is excited to observe the rich and extraordinary contributions of black leaders to the cultural landscape. This year’s theme in the U.S., “African Americans and the Arts,” celebrates the creativity, resilience and innovation of black Americans who have shaped our society. 

Throughout history, black people across North America have played a vital role in the arts, influencing music, literature, visual and performing arts, and many more forms of cultural expression. To celebrate, Blackbaud is shining a light on three U.S. customer organizations that are reaching their communities and beyond to share the African American story as told through the arts.   

Blackbaud employees are encouraged to learn more about the missions of these and similar organizations. Representatives from these organizations shared little-known facts and special exhibits. Read their comments below. 

Candice N. Jones, Director of Marketing & Communications
National Museum of African American Music
Nashville, Tennessee 

“One thing people would be surprised to know is that they can find most genres of music represented within these walls and over 400+ years of music history represented as well. There is something for everyone to love and to discover here at the National Museum of African American Music.”

Dr. Patrick Brown, Education Director
JazzArts Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina

“One thing that people might be surprised to learn about our organization is that in our 2023 fiscal year, 54% of the students in our JazzArts Academy were people of color. Since its inception, JazzArts Charlotte has been committed to creating an organizational culture and practices that support and enforce diversity, inclusion, and access.”

Rocky Bucano, Executive Director
The Hip Hop Museum
Bronx, New York

“Visitors will be surprised to learn at The Hip Hop Museum, how Hip Hop music has also driven tech innovation in sound recording. From sampling our parent’s vinyl at the culture’s inception in 1973 to the rise of cassettes and mixtapes. And THHM will illustrate how recording technology’s trajectory has been spurred on by Hip Hop music. It’s important to show our visitors how the creation and delivery of Hip Hop music to the world has consistently evolved. Particularly for Black History Month, early recording artists like Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey would marvel at how far the influence of this musical culture born of Black expression and creativity has come.”