Black History Month

February 23, 2018

Black History Month is a annual celebration of the achievements made by African Americans throughout the history of America. What originally started as Negro History Week, Black History Month was called for as a way to “recognize the central role of blacks in U.S. history.”

Before Black History Month, or even Negro History Week (as it was previously called), there was the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, also called ASNLH. The ASNLH was started in 1915 by historian Carter G. Wooden, minister Jesse E. Moorland, and other African Americans. The organization was dedicated to recognizing the standards and achievements set by African Americans.

The ASNLH sponsored the original “Negro History Week” in February of 1926. The month of February was chosen to align with the birthdays of former president Abraham Lincoln and social reformer Frederick Douglass. Negro History Week then began to lead schools to hold cultural celebrations, establish clubs promoting one’s heritage, and host lectures on the subjects the committee was founded upon.

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, saying that the public needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since Ford’s statement, the full month of February has been acknowledged as Black History Month.

In recent years, Black History Month set a certain theme to corroborate upon. These include Dreams, Struggles, Expression, and Wisdom. This year’s theme for Black History Month is “African Americans in Times of War.” This touches on and honors the roles played by African Americans in wars such as World War I and World War II, even dating back to the American Revolution and continuing to present day.

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