Why Do We Celebrate Black History Month
There are some people who say that Black History is American History but if you are like most Americans, you may not know much about how or why we celebrate Black History Month in the United States. Since we're about halfway through the month, let's take a quick look at what Black History Month is and why we celebrate it.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Ph.D., a Harvard-trained historian understood the contribution African-Americans had made to the success of America but was dismayed by the lack of recognition that so many individuals were not receiving. He, like many other people before him, felt it was essential that we shine a light on the accomplishments of all of America's people. So in the year 1925, he established with the help of his organization the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), Negro History Week.
I began to be bugged by the teaching of American history because it seemed that the history that had been taught without covenants of my presence.
-Dr. Carther G. Woodson, Ph.D.
According to the Library of Congress, the first Negro History Week happened in 1926. It was set to coincide with the February birthdays of Fredrick Douglass on February 14th and Abraham Lincoln on February 12th. Black History Week was celebrated in most of the country until President Gerald Ford urged all Americans to celebrate the accomplishments of Black Americans for the entire month. To that end, President Ford officially changed Black History Week to Black History Month. He did this in 1976 as part of America's celebration of its bicentennial.
...seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.
-Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States of America
We know the contributions of any group of Americans cannot, and should not, be contained to only be celebrated in a single week or month; however, it is proper to shine a light on the best of us.
Happy Black History Month.