Black History Month

February 5, 2021

Black History Month is a recognition of the contributions and achievements of African Americans and to learn about their history. 

The history of Black History Month started in September 1915. Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, or the ASNLH. The organization was meant to research and promote the achievements of African Americans. The organization is still up and running today, but it is now known as the Study of the African American Life and History, or the ASALH, as stated by History.com.

The ASNLH funded the very first Negro History week on the second week of Febuary in 1926. They chose this week to incorporate the birthdays of some important figures in African American history like Abraham Lincoln, February 12th, and Frederick Douglass, February 14th. They wanted to incorporate those birthdays because black communities have celebrated both of these days since the 19th century, stated asalh.org.

The goal of the week long recognition was to bring attention and help the American school system focus on the topic. 

The initial week-long recognition inspired communities all over the nation to have their own celebrations. These celebrations included things like establishing history clubs and organizing performances and lectures.

By several decades later mayors across the country began to recognize the celebration. By then the week long recognition became a month long celebration on many college and university campuses. According to history.com, part of the expansion of the celebration was due to the civil rights movement.

President Gerald Ford had officially recognized Black History Month in 1976 stating, “Seize the opportunity to honor the top often neglected accomplishments of black Americans of every area of endeavor throughout history.”

Since President Ford’s national decree in 1976, every February has been the designated Black History Month and has had a theme to go along with it. Black History Month has a theme as a way to focus the public’s attention.

The theme for 2021 is representation, identity, and diversity. 

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