2022 was a *wild* year. Book bans swept the country, the U.S. The Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, and 10 Black people were tragically gunned down in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
But there was also plenty to celebrate in the Black community. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brittney Griner came home to her family, and the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act finally passed.
Knowing that, even in hard times, our community members were fighting — and winning! — battles for racial justice and equity gives us hope. That’s why we’ll keep turning the spotlight on the organizations and people working to create positive change. We’ll update this list periodically with all the good news happening to Black folks in 2023.
1. Family Sells Bruce’s Beach for $20M. After being stolen in 1924, a Manhattan beachfront property was returned to the descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce as an act of reparations in 2022. Now, they are selling the property back to Los Angeles County.
2. You can stream The 1619 Project. The Pulitzer Prize-winning work The 1619 Project exists as a news series, a book, and now a show on Hulu. Nikole Hannah-Jones’ longform work will be told in a six-part docu-series of the same name.
3. A historic deal and better food in Houston’s airport. LaTrelle’s, a Black-owned and family-led restaurateur firm, recently inked a $334 million contract for a space in the William P. Hobby Airport. The funds go toward the renovation and revitalization of the airport’s dining hub.
4. Sticking the landing. Fisk University made history as the first HBCU to compete in NCAA gymnastics. Morgan Price, their five-star recruit, was the team’s strongest performer in all four events.
5. Well-deserved flowers. The Recording Academy announced The Supremes and Slick Rick will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at this year’s GRAMMYs ceremony in February.
6. A sweet reunion. Cleveland Cavalier guard Donovan Mitchell reunited with a special fan. Before he was traded and played in Louisville, Josh waited for Mitchell outside the arena after every game for five years. The two got to hug again for the first time since Mitchell was traded.
7. A one stop Black-owned business shop. The D.C. area is now home to a strip mall made of entirely Black-owned businesses. When Angel Gregorio opened her new spice shop, she invited others to join her, ultimately transforming a 7,500 square foot space into a one-stop-shop for local Black-owned businesses, called Black And Forth.
8. Doctors in the making. Morgan State University is the first HBCU in 45 years to open a medical school. The new school will be in partnership with Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital, and it aims to open doors in 2024.
9. Puzzle practice. Test your knowledge of the Black diaspora with Black Crossword, a free mini crossword puzzle made of terms and clues from the diaspora. New puzzles are released daily.
Black Crossword is live!
These free daily mini puzzles put an emphasis on terms and clues from the Black diaspora.
— juliana (@thecityofjules) January 23, 2023
10. Never stop exploring. Now 78, J.R. Harris hasn’t stopped exploring since 1966. He hikes mountains, goes river rafting, travels to remote villages across the globe — and he visits elementary schools to encourage kids to follow their dreams.
11. Need renovations. After years of walking past a portrait of likely enslaver Cecilus Calvert in Maryland’s Senate building in Annapolis, Sen. William C. Smith Jr. had enough. He began a project to get that painting taken down, and it was replaced by a painting of Baltimore’s Thurgood Marshall, created by West Baltimore artist Ernest Shaw Jr.
12. Mayoral power. For the first time in history, four of the largest cities in the United States are being led by Black mayors. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston all have Black leaders in the mayoral office.
13. The kids are alright. National Spelling Bee champion Zaila Avant-garde won our hearts in 2021, and this year she plans to publish two children’s books. The first is a non-fiction title called “It’s Not Bragging If It’s True: How to Be Awesome in Life,” which is due May 2, and the second is a second picture book called “Words of Wonder from Z to A,” which is set for a June publication.
14. It’s time to spout off. Entrepreneur Christopher Bouzy announced the next evolution of social media, which is set to launch on the first day of Black History Month. Called Spoutible, it will be a Black-owned alternative to Twitter.