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Thinking about Black History Month

Black and White Portrait of Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Black History Month has its roots in the early 20th century when African American scholars and leaders began to call for the recognition of the contributions and achievements of black Americans. In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) established the second week of February as "Negro History Week". The week was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two important figures in American history who were instrumental in advancing the cause of civil rights for black Americans.

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the call for recognition of black history grew louder, and in the 1970s, the weeklong celebration was expanded to a full month. The month of February was chosen because it already contained the birthdays of Lincoln and Douglass. Since 1976, every American president has officially designated February as Black History Month. Today, Black History Month is celebrated in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Black History Month is an important time for all Americans to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout history. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the ongoing struggle for racial equality and to educate ourselves about the long and painful history of racism and discrimination in the United States. By learning about and honoring the contributions of African Americans, we can gain a more complete understanding of American history and culture. Additionally, it can create a more inclusive and equitable society by bringing awareness to the contributions of marginalized groups and promoting understanding and empathy among all people.

Happy Black History Month!


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