By Nicholle Ramsey

Black History Month is celebrated every February. Black History Month is our nation’s way of showing recognition for Black Americans’ hard work and contributions to society. In light of the Month’s importance, former Poet Laureate of Winona, Minnesota, Nicholle Ramsey, has released her first collection of poetry called calling in black, which examines her views on life, mental health, and love, self-discovery, race, and being a woman.

This year, coinciding with Black History Month, was Amanda Gorman’s powerful presentation during President Biden’s Inauguration, which brought attention to poetry as a modern form of self-expression, activism, and performance art.

“It is a great time for poetry. Society has a heightened awareness of the value of art and culture, and I am free to express my thoughts and viewpoints in my poetry. To have calling in blackpublished during Black History Month, and to have the opportunity to share my life experiences through this ancient art form, during this pivotal month-long celebration, alongside seismic shifts in racial equality is a dream come true,” Ramsey said. “I hope my words reach readers and touch them.”

Black History Month 2021 theme: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. (from the website asalh.org)

The black family has been a topic of study in many disciplines—history, literature, the visual arts and film studies, sociology, anthropology, and social policy. Its representation, identity, and diversity have been reverenced, stereotyped, and vilified from the days of slavery to our own time. The black family knows no single location, since family reunions and genetic-ancestry searches testify to the spread of family members across states, nations, and continents. Not only are individual black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the black family at large. The family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present.

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