Black History Month


Julia Clouse

Black History Month is a yearly celebration in the month of February to recognize heritage and achievements made by black Americans in U.S history. Although African American history dates back to slavery in the colonial periods, it was mostly ignored up until the 20th century. The idea stemmed from “Negro History Week,” which was organized by historian Carter G. Woodson and other notable African Americans in 1926. He noticed that the role of African Americans had been misstated or absent in the history books. Negro History Week was the second week in February, and corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass on February 20th, and Abraham Lincoln on February 12th. This inspired communities around the nation to organize events, clubs, lectures, and performances to celebrate. With the help of the Civil Rights Movement reflecting pride and increasing awareness of unequal rights, Black History Month was largely recognized by the late 1960’s. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially designated February as Black History Month, and stated America needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Currently, there are many inspiring black artists, celebrities, and people that have made an incredible impact on American history. On January 20th, 2009, America elected the first black president, Barack Obama. He passed many laws that greatly affected the United States (more here). The famous hip hop singer, Rihanna, recently won the

Harvard humanitarian of the year award for graciously donating to several charities. She also worked with the Global Partnership for Education to give children in over 60 countries access to education, and she is the second highest best selling female artist of all time with 230 million records sold worldwide. NBA player, Michael Jordan, was named “the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century” and is arguably the best basketball player of all time. A historical figure that has significantly influenced the course of equal rights is Martin Luther King Jr. He was a minister and activist who led the Civil Rights Movement, and inspired millions with his “I Have a Dream” speech.

In honor of Black History Month, we celebrate the many contributors to equal rights, freedom, and history. This month serves as an annual reminder to never forget America’s heritage, and tohonor all of the achievements made by African Americans that make America what it is today.

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