The Origins of Black History Month

Black History Month was not always a thing and the appreciation of Black/African Americans Month wasn’t nationally recognized until 1976. It began as a three week celebration. The precursor of Black History Month was created in 1926 by Carter G.Woodson and the association of Negro Life and History announced that the second week of February would be “Negro History week”.

The roots of Black History Month begins in Chicago during the summer of 1915. An alumnus of the University of Chicago with many friends in the city, Carter G. Woodson traveled from Washington, D.C. to attend a national celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois. Thousands of African Americans travelled from across the country to see exhibits highlighting the progress their people had made since the destruction of slavery. Carter Woodson joined the other exhibitors and that’s where he has displayed the idea of Black History Month. Inspired by the three-week celebration, Woodson decided to form an organization to promote the scientific study of black life and history before leaving Chicago  On September 9th, Woodson met at the Wabash YMCA with A. L. Jackson and three others and formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Promoting this helped people especially African Americans to know more about the History that was not being taught or even known about. During that time black people were also trying to start their own culture that would be thriving in the 20s that would make a great contribution to black history and literature. 

Black History Month was proposed to black educators and students across the nation in 1969, the first celebration took place at Kent University in 1970. It wasn’t until 1976 where President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, administering to the people to “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”. 

Black History is American History and should be taught regardless of the month and should be recognized always.