From Negro History Week to Black History Month: History Explained

Black History month is an annual time of recognition and celebration for the achievements of prominent African Americans in history. Black History Month developed from “Negro History

Week,” which was created by Carter G. Woodson and other African Americans. Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jesse E. Moorland created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History which purpose was to research and promote the achievements of both black americans and other individuals of African descent.

The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History transitioned into the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The ASALH financed and promoted a national Negro History week in 1926 which was held during the second week of February to to run concurrent with the birthdays off Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas.

The month of February was selected for both tradition and reform. Tradition in terms of the celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday since his assassination in 1865 by the black community and other republicans. Fredrick Douglas has been celebrated since the 1890s. Carter G. Woodson wanted black history month to be a celebration of black achievements from the past. The goal was to have individuals expand their knowledge of black history.

This week sparked a movement which led to communities and schools all across the nation organizing celebrations which included hosting events to uplift and raise awareness about black history.

Following the birth of Negro History Week, mayors across the country began to acknowledge the week through yearly proclamations.

In the late 1960’s Negro History Week evolved into Black History Month on several college campuses due to the civil rights movement and an increased awareness and sense of black identity.

Black History month got it’s roots in 1915, 50 years after slavery was abolished in the United States.

Gerald Ford was the first American President to officially recognize Black History Month advising the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black americans in every area of endeavor through out history.”

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially assigned February as Black History Month as well as validated a theme for the month.

The 2021 Theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity”. The theme focuses on the spread of black families across the US and African exodus.

Today we continue to celebrate Black History Month, however, black history should not be contained to a month. Rather it should be endless and embedded in textbooks, curriculum from kindergarten on, and be widely showcased in general.


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