Celebrating African Americans and the Arts [and the Environment] for Black History Month 2024


Celebrating African Americans and the Arts [and the Environment] for Black History Month 2024

The convergence of art and the environment has the power to inspire attitudes of respect, admiration, conservation, and pride. Nature and climate artists and their work play an important role in helping develop climate literacy and awareness while motivating people toward civic engagement. Yet mainstream recognition of artists, storytellers, and writers in this area of expression is still playing catchup when it comes to inclusivity. Inspired by “Black Artists and Storytellers on the Climate Crisis,” written by Thomas Peterson and published on the Artists and Climate Change website, we’re taking the opportunity to embrace the 2024 Black History Month theme “African Americans and the Arts” and connections to the environment.

In support of the 2024 Black History Month theme “African Americans and the Arts,” we’ve gathered below a (noncomprehensive) list of Black and African American artists creating an impact through words, songs, and visual creations. We invite you to explore the resources and share suggestions of your own! 





Inspiration comes in all forms—music certainly being a major source to move people towards caring and even action. Over the years, various musical artists have drawn inspiration for their songs from the world around them, the state of our planet, climate change, and the wonder of nature. Check out some tunes that may inspire you:

Added listening: 

Fiction and nonfiction



  • Tiya Miles → An author of fictional works such as All That She Carried and nonfiction collection Wild Girls, Miles threads history, hope, nature, and community into her works. 
  • Lauret Savoy →  In Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape, Savoy incorporates human stories of migration, silence, and displacement, as epic as the continent they survey, with uplifted mountains, braided streams, and eroded canyons.
  • Mélina Mangal→ Mangal authored the children’s book Jayden's Impossible Garden in which Jayden invites community friends to help create a garden in his urban neighborhood.
  • Sherri L. Smith → Young adult fiction and nonfiction author Smith writes about protagonist Fen’s experience navigating a climate change-impacted world where health and safety are at risk in Orleans.
  • Tochi OnyebuchiWar Girls is a young adult fantasy fiction series by Onyebuchi in which a pair of sisters work to survive in a world ravaged by climate change and nuclear disaster. 

Visual Art

  • Carol Rashawnna Williams → Williams uses visual art to confront the intersection of climate change and racial injustice. In this South Seattle Emerald article, Williams describes how she incorporates this concept into an installation at Seattle University's Hedreen Gallery 
  • Tavares Strachan → Strachan has been described as a “contemporary conceptual artist whose practice examines the intersection of art, science, and the environment,” particularly focusing on the Arctic region. He uses aeronautical and extreme environments as the basis of much of his visual work, as shown at the Perrotin Gallery