Black History month is an annual celebration of achievements of African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. History.
Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.
The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the thirteenth ammendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the ASNLH, an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.
Woodson first had the idea of this month-long celebration. Woodson was born in 1875 to newly freed Virginia slaves. He later earned a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He worried that Black children were not being taught about their ancestors’ achievements in American schools in the early 1900s.
Known today as the ASALH, the group sponsored a National Black History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures.
In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Black History Week. by the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Black History week had evolved into Black History month.
President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Today, Black History Month is a time to honor the contributions and legacy of African Americans across U.S. History and society. From activists and civil right pioneers such as Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks to leaders in industry, politics, science, culture, and more.
Since 1976, every American President has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.
The theme for 2022 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical workers, but also other ways of knowing throughout the African Diaspora.
The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals, and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.
In order to foster good health and wellness, Black people have embarked on self-determination, mutual aid, and social support initiatives to build hospitals, medical and nursing schools, and community clinics.
Scores of events across the country – in cities, in communities, on college campuses, and more – are scheduled for this month. For example, at Texas A&M University, the college held the Black History month Kick-off on February 1, hosted by the Black Student Alliance Council (BSAC).
Today, Black History Month is celebrated all around the world and it is a great way to show respect to those of the African American community and descent.