Kelly's Korner: History of Black history
By Juanita Kelly-Hill
Black History Month is celebrated in February each year in the United States. But did you know that before 1976, Black History Month didn’t exist?
In 1915, in response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people available to the public, historian and the “Father of Black History,” Carter G. Woodson, co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
In 1926, the association established what was called Negro History Week to encourage the study of African-American history in schools and communities.
Before then, African-American history wasn’t even included in textbooks.
The week-long event was celebrated the second week of February to correspond with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
Woodson was the second African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard. He dedicated his entire career to African-American history and pushed heavily for it to be celebrated nationwide.
Eventually, the celebration that Woodson longed for became official in 1976 thanks to the civil rights movement of the ‘60s and President Gerald Ford, who decided to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Since then, February has been nationally recognized and celebrated as Black History Month in America. Shortly after, other countries also decided to recognize Black History Month, including Canada, The Netherlands and Germany.
Black History Month honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century, to African Americans living in the United States today.
The honorary month continues the discussion of Black people and their contributions through activities such as museum exhibits and film screenings, and by encouraging the study of achievements by African Americans year-round.