History of Black History Month

Estrella Pacheco, Staff Writer

For such a brief month, February has many significant events in it. From Valentine’s day to several presidential birthdays, the month is jam-packed with celebrations. And of course, as any semi-aware teen knows, the entire month has been dedicated to the celebration of Black history. While many of us have participated in activities in classes surrounding the outstanding Black people in our recent history, few are aware of the where Black History month originated.

The beginnings of Black History month started in the early 20th century. According to Time Magazine, a man by the name of Carter Woodson, frustrated with the lack of representation of African-American history in textbooks, created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915. Then in 1926, he launched Negro History Week as a way to spread the word his organization and mission. He chose the second week of February because it coincided with both Lincoln and Frederick Douglas’s birthdays. While the studies and celebration of Black History had spread somewhat by the 1960s, it was clear that there was still very little awareness of Black culture and history. It was then decided that Negro History Week would become Black History Month. In 1976, President Ford acknowledged Black History Month as a national observation.  Black History Month is now celebrated annually in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, and the USA. Of course, there is still a long way to go in regards to full inclusivity, but hopefully, Black History Month will eventually become a widely acknowledged celebration across the globe.

The teaching and honoring of Black history is essential if we are to create a more just society. Because of the vast history of injustices, that have occurred towards the Black communities, continuing to not represent their history would be yet another injustice. In recent history, there have been countless amazing leaders, activists, artists, and thinkers of African heritage. It is important that we acknowledge and celebrate these inspiring individuals to ensure that we move away from the prejudice based in miseducation, that our country’s history is steeped in.