Black History Month

Ashlyn Tiller

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements of African Americans.

The origins of Black History Month goes back all the way to 1915. In September of 1915, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, or the ASNLH. The purpose of the organization was to research and promote achievements of African Americans. Today the organization is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH.)

In 1926, the organization funded the first national Negro History week on the second week of February. They choose this week to be in the same week as the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Federick Douglas because black communities have celebrated both of these dates since the 19th century.

The initial week celebration inspired communities all over the nation to have their own celebrations. The events in the celebration includes things like establishing history clubs and organizing performances and lectures. 

From there mayors across the country began to recognize the week. By the 1960’s the Negro History week had turned to Black history Month on many college campuses. A big part of this was because of the civil rights movement. 

In 1976 Black History Month was officially recognized. It was recognized by president Gerald Ford.

“Seize the opportunity to honor the top often neglected accomplishments of black Americans of every area of endeavor throughout history.” he told the public. 

Since then, every February has been the designated Black History Month, and there has been a specific theme. Black History Month has a theme so it is easier to focus the public’s attention. This started when Woodson first established Negro History Week in 1926. 

The Black History Month Theme for 2020 is “African Americans and the Vote.”

The theme was picked in honor of the centennial anniversary, hundredth anniversary, of the Nineteenth amendment that allowed women to vote. As well as the sesquicentennial anniversary, 115 anniversary, of the of the fifteenth amendment that allowed African American men to vote.