Black History Month is a month dedicated to celebrating the contributions of African Americans and their influence on American history. While the contributions of some African Americans like Martin Luther King Jr. are world-renowned, others like David Nelson Crosthwait Jr. -- a pioneer in the field of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning -- are not as well known. A dinner party is a great way to spend time with friends and learn more about African Americans who have helped to shape our nation's history.
Be sure to send invitations to your friends and family to let them know the details of your party. From online invitations to printed cards, you have several options. If you want to be a little more creative, make your own handmade invitations. Print maps of Africa and the United States or the American flag and a few of your favorite African flags and use them as the background of the invite.
Play music from some of your favorite African American musicians; you have plenty of genres to choose from including jazz, blues and Motown. It could also be fun to set up a table with record jackets, CD covers and pictures of some of the artists with a short description of their influence on African American music. Also include a card containing a general explanation of the history of the music and its evolution from a form of communication to international entertainment. You can easily find all of the information you need online.
Keep the decor elegant and simple and stick with black and white, or you can draw inspiration from African flags and use black, yellow, green and red. If you want to infuse more color, use a black or white tablecloth and use colorful candles as a centerpiece or print postcard-size prints of African-inspired artwork and use them as placecards in your table setting.
As a party favor, consider giving each person a CD from your favorite musician. Or find inexpensive picture frames and fill them with biographies of African Americans who have played a vital role in American history. Not only do your guests learn more about an influential person, but they have a nice frame to fill with a photo of their choice when they get home. To make it more interactive, set placecards on the table, each with a well-known quote; this is a nice touch even if you don't assign seats. At dinner, guests can read their card aloud to the group.
Have fun making some soul food classics including fried fish, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams, corn bread and peach cobbler. Have a few beverage options availble as well, including sweet tea, lemonade and if you prefer, a signature cocktail. Set out some menu cards that list what will be served as well as some history on the origins of the menu items. You could do a brief overview or give a description on the origins of each particular dish.
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