Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration and recognition of achievements by Black Americans. The idea to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans grew out of historian Carter G. Woodson and others who wanted a way to teach all citizens about the importance of Black Americans in the nation’s fabric.


Black History Month began in 1915, 50 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. In September of that year, Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Mooreland established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). This association was devoted to promoting awareness and celebrating the achievements of Black Americans and others of African descent.


The organization is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The ASALH started a national Negro Week in 1926 on the second week of February to align with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. Schools, communities and other organizations were inspired to organize celebrations and hold performances and lectures. 


In the years after, the Civil Rights Movement and the growing awareness of Black identity encouraged the country to evolve Negro Week into Black History Month. Now, all this hard work is represented through a month-long, yearly celebration of prominent Black leaders such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Rosa Parks.


Starting with Gerald Ford in 1976, every president has declared February as the month to, “recognize the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Each year, a theme has been proclaimed, this year’s being “Black Resistance.” 

According to Terri E. Givens, CEO and Founder of Brighter Higher Ed, some ways to celebrate Black History Month include supporting black-owned businesses. Racism towards black-owned businesses is not uncommon, and becoming a customer will increase black visibility. It is also beneficial to be educated on black-figures and their contributions. Advocating for anti-racism charities can help support gaining justice for black communities. Of course, purchasing from black authors and following black women to help break down structural racism and modernize black images. Givens's article can be read in its entirety using this link:

With all this in mind, this year's Black History Month should be full of recognition and celebrated just as it was intended over a century ago.


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