Hope you had a great Black History Month. In February, we as a nation, celebrate African Americans for their contribution to society and their accomplishments. In 1964 author James Baldwin wrote about his time in school. He wrote: “I began to be bugged by the teaching of American history because it seemed that that history had been taught without cognizance of my presence.” His thoughts about the lack of the teaching of Black history spread.
Nearly half a century earlier, the celebration of Black History Month began in the year 1926 as a week-long celebration created by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Woodson is referred to as the “Father of Black History” by many.
While Woodson was earning his master’s degree he witnessed how underrepresented African Americans were in history books and how it was taught to students.
In 1926, Woodson launched “Negro History Week.” He choose the second week in February to celebrate so he could include Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. He wanted African Americans to be proud of where they came from and their heritage.
After the launch of Negro History Week, schools worldwide organized local celebrations, established history clubs, and hosted performances and lectures. Decades after its creation, mayors in the country recognized Negro History Week.
During the Civil Rights movement, it evolved from Negro History Week to Black History Month. President Ford issued the first message on the observance of Black History Month. Presidents Carter and Reagan continued the tradition of celebrating African American contributions in their messages to the American people. In the month leading up to Black History Month, each president endorses a specific theme. This year’s theme was: “Black Health and Wellness,” which explored the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners.
According to BLS Educational Technology’s website, today we celebrate Black History Month by: supporting Black-owned businesses; learning about noteworthy Black figures and their contributions; donating to charities that support anti-racism, equity and equality; purchasing, reading, and sharing books by Black authors; supporting and learning about Black women; participating in online events, and attending Black History Month celebrations.
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