The origins of Black History Month

Bianna Golodryga
·Yahoo News and Finance Anchor

By Kaye Foley

Every February, Black History Month, or National African-American History Month, is observed in the U.S. to celebrate and honor the contributions and impact of black Americans throughout the nation’s history.

Until the 20th century, black history was mostly absent or misrepresented. In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves who had become a scholar and a historian, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. It’s now known as the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. This organization produced The Journal of African-American History (as its called now), which compiled articles about the black men and women whose achievements had been untold.

In 1926, the association expanded its efforts to tell these stories and created “Negro History Week.” This week eventually became Black History Month as we know it today.

The second week in February was chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of two prominent figures in history — Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Over the decades, the weeklong commemoration spread to schools and communities across the country. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s helped bring the week to a broader audience. And in 1976, it expanded to Black History Month, with Gerald Ford being the first president to endorse it. He said, “I urge my fellow citizens to join me in tribute to Black History Month and to the message of courage and perseverance it brings to all of us.”

Nowadays, some argue that Black History Month is no longer necessary or that it gives the impression that black history should be acknowledged only for a single month. But others say it’s important to have a dedicated time to honor and recognize people who had been left out from the history books for so long.

When it comes to the origins of Black History Month, after watching this video, at least you can say, “Now I get it.”