Black History Month is celebrated annually during February. Reflection upon the achievements of African Americans and their central role in U.S. history is at the core of this celebration. As we consider these achievements, it is also important to understand how this event grew and became established within America and the month of February.
As many know, African American history dates back to our countries origin when Africans were brought to the colonies as slaves. However, the history of African Americans was largely ignored until the 20th century. At this time, historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson began the push towards recognizing Black history. Dr. Carter overcame poverty through education and obtained a doctorate from Harvard University in 1912. In his studies, Dr. Carter that Black history was not available or had been misconstrued. As such, in 1915, he founded the “Association of the Study of Negro Life.” Then, in 1916, he began publishing a journal that is now known as the Journal of African American History.
Over time, Black history began to be written back into the history books. Dr. Carter’s inspiration gave way to the first annual “Negro History Week” in 1926. This event was to take place during the second week of February, which would place it near the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. Then, during the American Bi-Centennial in 1976, February was identified as Black History Month. Since then, every U.S. president has continued to designate February as Black History Month.