Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is a month-long recognition of African Americans and the critical role they played in the founding and shaping of the United States of America.
First celebrated as “Negro Week” in 1926, Black History Month was founded by historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland out of a desire to promote achievements made by Black Americans, and more importantly a need to encourage the teaching of Black history in American schools.The month of February was chosen due to its inclusion of the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and renowned abolitionist Fredrick Douglas (February 20).
In the 1960’s as the civil rights movement grew “Negro Week” became Black History Month across many college and university campuses. In 1976 President Gerald Ford became the first leader of the United States of America to officially recognize Black History Month.
Since being recognized as an official heritage month, Black History Month has been assigned a theme for each year of its celebration. Last year’s theme was Black Health and Wellness, highlighting the achievements of scholars and practitioners in the medical fields. This year’s theme, Black Resistance, will honor those whose resistance led to justice and freedom for Black Americans.
The month-long celebration begins February 1 and will last until the final day of the month.