Home » Celebrating Black History with Custom Swag and Gifts: Honoring African American Stories During Black History Month 2024

Celebrating Black History with Custom Swag and Gifts: Honoring African American Stories During Black History Month 2024

Employees celebrating Black History Month

Working in corporate, we were no strangers to diversity initiatives and Black History Month.

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Recently, HR encouraged each department to develop its traditions to mark the occasion. When January rolled in, we started discussing creating our Black History celebration. We knew we wanted to share a spotlight outlining trailblazers in our industry. We also wanted to spotlight the incredible men and women who had changed the world so far.

It was important for us also to tie the past and present together. Showing every member of our team how much we value inclusivity. Part of our Black History Month celebration would include selecting gifts for our team. These gifts honored the incredible contributions of Black people to U.S. and global history.

I was tasked with finding the perfect gifts, and I found SwagMagic early on in my corporate gifting search. Putting these gifts together was a great way for me to celebrate my heritage while spreading awareness at work.

Black History Month Gifts Ideas for 2024

There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month, and African-American History gifts are a great way to start conversations in the workplace. Our team is close, and we love marking just about every occasion with some type of keepsake item.

I knew that I wanted more than just your run-of-the-mill pen and stationery set for this gifting opportunity. I wanted to find Black History Month gifts that would highlight important historical figures in fun ways.

Some of the gift ideas I came up with included:

Books by Black Authors

Titles that delve into Black history, culture, or fiction by esteemed Black authors, such as “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates or “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston.

African or African-American Art

Secure prints or sculptures from Black artists, celebrating their contributions to the art scene.

Subscription to Black-Owned Magazines

Magazines like “Essence” or “Afroelle” provide insights into Black culture and lifestyle.

Curate the perfect box of handpicked gift they’ll love and send joy their way

Music Collections

Albums or playlists featuring legendary Black musicians, spanning genres from R&B to gospel.

Curated Snack Boxes

Offer a collection of gourmet treats from Black-owned food businesses, introducing recipients to diverse flavors and culinary traditions.

snack box with swag

Custom Swag Kits

Collaborate with Black-owned suppliers to create unique kits with merchandise, apparel, or accessories celebrating Black history and culture.


Branded Gift Shops

Purchase from or gift certificates to online or physical stores that exclusively stock products from Black entrepreneurs, artisans, and designers.

Customized t-shirt

T-shirt with quotes from Black leaders (think Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, and Barack Obama), personalized journals with a detailed illustration of Africa on the front, and mugs that said, “Every Month Is Black History Month.”

Martin Luther King Jr. quotes

It was decided that the items would be put together in a basket, and each team member would receive their Black History gift bags during our celebratory meeting, featuring a presentation from a professor of African American history at our local college.

Black History Month Gift Baskets and Gift Bags

I had all the best Black History Month gift bags put together in my mind. Now, all I had to do was find the perfect finishing touches. SwagMagic returned with its awesome swag, snacks, and delicious goodies.

We’re talking sweet and spicy dried fruit, a huge selection of chocolate treats, crunchy delights like cheddar puffs and cornbread crisps, and refreshing sparkling waters, the perfect daytime alternative to champagne.

A Black-Owned Business curated box is a great Black History Month gift.


T-shirts are an impactful gift for Black History Month because they allow the wearer to visually express their pride in and honor of inspirational black figures and historical events. Featuring artwork and quotes from civil rights leaders, inventors, authors, and other groundbreaking African Americans, the t-shirts spark conversation about the immense contributions the black community has made to society.


A blank notebook is a considerate gift for Black History Month because it provides the recipient space to capture their thoughts, questions, and takeaways as they reflect on the honored history. From learning about stories of tribulation, progress, setbacks, and triumph spanning generations of the black experience in America, there are bound to be profound realizations and stirred emotions.


A set of pens is a practical and prompt-focused gift for celebrating Black History Month because their simplicity and utility empower written expression centered on African American narratives – whether a student’s research notes or one’s ponderings from reading prominent black authors, the pens assist in committing to paper the ideas worth spreading that emerge from better understanding the richness of black history.

I decided to put these into the basket. Along with some snacks and sweets I knew my team would love. Everything was easy to put together. I even had plenty of leftovers from my order to keep in my drawer.

Speaking of extras, I was delighted that my swag bundle order came with enough stock for me to put together some extra African American gift baskets for my family and friends at church. It was a great surprise for them, especially my grandmother, who had taught me about Black history long before I heard about it in school.

I was going to settle for paper gift bags, but then genius struck. What if I turned the bag itself into a gift? I returned to SwagMagic and ordered custom tote bags with a great quote: “Black History Is Our History.” 

It was complete when I uploaded an illustration I commissioned from a local Black artist. The design shone on the bag, and it was the piece that would tie everything else together perfectly. 

swag cap

Black History Month Swag Items and Ideas

She was thrilled when I talked to my manager about the gift bags I’d put together. She then asked me if I could make any other suggestions, as HR was looking for ways to improve corporate gifting.

I recommended we survey our corporate family on what they thought would be great Black History Month products. Within a few days, we had tons of fantastic ideas for Black History Month accessories.

They included:

Quote Journals

Quote journals provide thoughtful space to write down inspiring words from civil rights leaders, authors, historical speeches, and more while reflecting on the immense impact of African Americans during Black History Month. Tracing back to Negro History Week started by Carter G. Woodson, father of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), these journals allow for personal documentation of insights related to the ongoing fight for equality.

Tote Bags

Tote bags printed with images of historical figures, museums like the National Museum of African American History and Culture, or uplifting messages are useful Black History Month gifts to spark conversation about black history and culture. African Americans have endured incredible hardships yet catalyzed so much positive change; these bags share that legacy.


Hats displaying symbols of pride, famous firsts by African Americans, or logos from black history organizations celebrate iconic moments and people from 1976 to today. Wearing these helps spread awareness during this commemorative month.


Pins are wearable tributes to impactful events, people, places, or quotes related to the Black American story. Mini merits of Negro, then black history, they invite curiosity and discussion of how far society has come yet how far we still must go for equality and justice.


Mugs allow daily reflection on African American culture and the long path blazed by change-makers like Martin Luther King Jr. while enjoying a warm drink. They hold deep meaning in a small vessel – whether the quote of a black author or image of a seminal civil rights march, the mug shares an imprint of history with immense contemporary significance.

Cushy Blankets 

Cozy blankets engraved with cultural symbols or language about black life provide comfortable spaces to study the legacy of those who founded Black History Month. The blankets warmly remind users of triumphs still hard-fought by African Americans today.

There were plenty of outstanding ideas that we decided to note for next year’s celebration. One thing was certain: Our Black History gifts would never disappoint.

tote bag

Black History Month Giveaways and Promotional Items

Black Literature Collections

Bundle a few influential books written by Black authors, spanning genres and eras. This could include classic literature, autobiographies, and modern works. Examples might be “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” by James Baldwin, and “Becoming” by Michelle Obama.

African Diaspora Music Compilation

Offer a collection, perhaps on a custom USB or as a digital playlist, featuring iconic tracks from Black musicians across various genres—jazz, reggae, afrobeat, gospel, hip-hop, and more.

Black Art Prints

Collaborate with a Black artist to create limited edition prints or posters that celebrate Black culture, history, or individual stories. This not only promotes the artist but also lets recipients have a piece of meaningful art in their space.

Curated Beauty Boxes

Assemble a selection of sample or full-size products from Black-owned beauty and skincare brands. This introduces recipients to brands they might not know and supports Black entrepreneurs in the beauty industry.

Cultural Experience Vouchers

Give away tickets or vouchers to Black history museums, African or Caribbean cooking classes, or cultural events/festivals that celebrate the Black experience. This promotes experiential learning and appreciation.

To make the month more engaging, our whole company announced that it would be hosting a Black History trivia game.

Employees would receive newsletters highlighting different events and historical figures each week. By the month’s end, they could put their newfound knowledge to the test. They could go head-to-head with one another to score some sweet Black History Month promotional items.

The prizes had all been voted on by the departments. The top picks were featured in our company store. And the winners would be awarded a prize stipend they could use to choose their rewards. 

My manager had been so enthused by the gift bags I put together that she wanted to reach out to HR about improving our corporate gifting strategy. The HR team was intrigued by SwagMagic. They loved how the store feature allowed the company to save money thanks to its print-on-demand feature.

Ultimately, everyone was happy with their gift bags, and Black History Month felt more alive in the workplace daily. We were having insightful conversations, adding exciting facts to our Black History board, and learning more about the incredible lives that had touched so many with their courage and tenacity.

Black History Month Celebration Merchandise

T-Shirts with Iconic Quotes

Design t-shirts that feature powerful quotes from influential Black figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, or Malcolm X. Consider incorporating vibrant African patterns or artwork as the backdrop.


Commemorative Pins and Badges

Create enamel pins or badges showcasing notable Black historical figures, significant symbols, or moments in Black history. These can be worn on lapels, bags, or hats as a statement of pride and remembrance.

Wall Calendars with Historical Highlights

Produce a calendar that each month highlights a different significant event, individual, or achievement from Black history. Accompany each month with detailed explanations and inspiring imagery.

Notebooks with Afrofuturistic Art

Collaborate with Black artists to design covers inspired by Afrofuturism, a cultural aesthetic that combines African diaspora culture with technology and seeks to reimagine a future filled with arts, science, and technology seen through a Black lens.

Tote Bags with Maps

Design tote bags that feature stylized maps of historically significant places in Black history. This could include routes of the Underground Railroad, Black Wall Street, key locations of the Civil Rights Movement, or important regions in Africa.

Significance of Black History Month

The origins of Black History Month trace back to 1926 when a historian named Carter G. Woodson proposed setting aside a week to celebrate negro life and history and commemorate the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans. This week was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in the second week of February.

The response was positive and the first Negro History Week was established in 1926. Over the next decades, mayors of cities and states began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing the neglected accomplishments of black americans in every area of life.

In the 1960s, thanks to the Civil Rights Movement and growing awareness of the study of negro life, Negro History Week gained further popularity and began attracting more participation from schools, organizations, and communities.

In 1976, president gerald ford officially recognized and endorsed Black History Month. This milestone by president gerald gave the event much greater exposure and provided additional momentum for schools, community centers and organizations of all kinds to hold celebrations and events to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black americans in every area of endeavor throughout history.

Over the decades since then, Black History Month has become a fixture across workplaces, institutions and communities in the United States and Canada. The celebrations, events and educational initiatives held each February provide a designated time for reflecting on the experiences and achievements of Black people while recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.

Celebrating Black History Month 2024 in Style

The store was officially running, and a giveaway was closing in. I decided to take some time and look at what the company had put together. I was given a recipient link and told to treat myself to some Black History Month merchandise of my choosing as a thank-you for introducing SwagMagic to the company.

It felt good to see my work pay off. It was great to pick some excellent merchandise that I would use during February and all year.

Despite my best efforts, I didn’t take home the gold at our company’s Black History Month trivia event. But I still had an awesome time competing. I also learned a lot from the questions they asked, and it was so awesome seeing teams root for their participating members while donning some Black History t-shirts.

My team decided to participate, and we wore matching shirts together as we tackled the questions. At the end of the event, we sat back and enjoyed discussing facts we’d learned. All while munching on some of our loot from the gift bags I’d put together.

What is the origin of Black History Month, and when was the tradition first started?

Black History Month originated from Negro History Week, which was started in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. The second week of February was chosen by this Harvard-trained historian and scholar to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. He launched the first organized celebration of Black American history.

What is the 2024 theme for Black History Month selected by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)?

The 2024 theme for Black History Month is First Black…, honoring the countless groundbreaking achievements and firsts of Black Americans across industries, fields, sports, arts, and all areas of life.

How have African Americans shaped American history and culture over time through leadership, innovation, and resilience?

From politics to business, science to arts, African Americans have led impactful change and made immense cultural contributions through determined resilience despite rampant marginalization and discrimination. Black American influence can be felt across every facet of society today.

What is the acronym ASALH, and when did Carter G. Woodson originally find this organization?

ASALH stands for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. This non-profit promoting Black American history and culture was founded by Carter G. Woodson in 1915, before his 1926 Negro History Week inception honoring icons like Frederick Douglass and driving momentum to uplift the stories of the Black community year-round.


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