The celebration of Black History Month is often mentioned but very rarely explained. I wanted to share a brief version of the history of Black History Month and how this observance came to be.
The month-long holiday started in 1976, so it is relatively recent.
In 1915, just 50 years after slavery was abolished in the U.S., Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian, and Jesse E. Moorland, a respected minister, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). This organization's purpose was to research and share the achievements of black Americans and other people of African descent. The group later became known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and in 1926 they sponsored the first national Negro History week during the second week in February. They chose this week because it included the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
In the following years, more cities around the nation started issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960's, the week-long celebration transformed into Black History Month on many college campuses as an act to promote the positive impact that black Americans had made in American history. Black innovators in every area have been recognized since the origins of Black History Month and to this day, every American president has designated February as Black History Month.
I am inspired by leaders and innovators of every race, but especially by black Americans who have overcome prejudice and setbacks in their field because of their race. I've attended a few Black History Month events this year and they have all been very inspiring.
I really enjoyed hearing from Melissa Harris-Perry a few days ago on my campus!
I like to think of this month as a time to be proud of how far black Americans have come, while understanding that we still have strides to make in every area. I also like to think of Black History Month as a time to celebrate my race, not to put down other races. I appreciate all cultures and histories, and that absolutely includes my own.
Enjoy these links celebrating Black History Month