Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed unofficially in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated in February in the United States[6] and Canada,[7] while in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October[8][9][5]

Black History Month
An Ernie Pryor original painting dedicated to the Black United Students @ Kent State University
A painting dedicated to the founders of Black History Month, the Black United Students at Kent State University, by Ernie Pryor.[1]
Also calledAfrican-American History Month
Observed byUnited States, Canada,[2] United Kingdom,[3] Germany,[4] Netherlands[5]
SignificanceCelebration of African-American history
DateFebruary (North America)
October (Europe)


Carter G Woodson portrait
Carter G. Woodson (1875–1950)

Negro History Week (1926)

The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week".[10] This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.[10] Negro History Week was the center of the equation. The thought-process behind the week was never recorded, but scholars acknowledge two reasons for its birth: recognition and importance.[11] Woodson felt deeply that at least one week would allow for the general movement to become something annually celebrated. Also, after the ten year long haul to successfully complete his "Journal of Negro History", he realized the subject deserved to resonate with a greater audience.

From the event's initial phase, primary emphasis was placed on encouraging the coordinated teaching of the history of American blacks in the nation's public schools. The first Negro History Week was met with a lukewarm response, gaining the cooperation of the Departments of Education of the states of North Carolina, Delaware, and West Virginia as well as the city school administrations of Baltimore and Washington, D.C..[12] Despite this far from universal acceptance, the event was regarded by Woodson as "one of the most fortunate steps ever taken by the Association", and plans for a repeat of the event on an annual basis continued apace.[12]

At the time of Negro History Week's launch, Woodson contended that the teaching of black history was essential to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of the race within broader society:

If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization.[13]

By 1929, The Journal of Negro History was able to note that with only two exceptions, officials with the State Departments of Educations of "every state with considerable Negro population" had made the event known to that state's teachers and distributed official literature associated with the event".[14] Churches also played a significant role in the distribution of literature in association with Negro History Week during this initial interval, with the mainstream and black press aiding in the publicity effort.[15]

Negro History Week was met with enthusiastic response; it prompted the creation of black history clubs, an increase in interest among teachers, and interest from progressive whites. Negro History Week grew in popularity throughout the following decades, with mayors across the United States endorsing it as a holiday.[10]

On February 21, 2016, 106-year Washington D.C. resident and school volunteer Virginia McLaurin visited the White House as part of Black History Month. When asked by the president why she was there, McLaurin said, "A black president. A black wife. And I’m here to celebrate black history. That's what I'm here for."[16]

United States: Black History Month (1970)

Kuumba House - Black United Students 1st Black Culture Center 1969
The Black United Students first Black culture center (Kuumba House) where many events of the first Black History Month celebration took place.

Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, from January 2, 1970 – February 28, 1970.[6]

Six years later, Black History Month was being celebrated all across the country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture and community centers, both great and small, when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history".[17]

United Kingdom (1987)

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987. It was organised through the leadership of Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, who had served as a coordinator of special projects for the Greater London Council (GLC) and created a collaboration to get it underway.[18] It was first celebrated in London.[19]

Canada (1995)

In 1995, after a motion by politician Jean Augustine, representing the riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore in Ontario, Canada's House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month and honored Black Canadians. In 2008, Senator Donald Oliver moved to have the Senate officially recognize Black History Month, which was unanimously approved.[7]

Republic of Ireland (2010)

Ireland's Great Hunger Institute notes: “Black History Month Ireland was initiated in Cork in 2010. This location seems particularly appropriate as, in the nineteenth century, the city was a leading center of abolition, and the male and female anti-slavery societies welcomed a number of black abolitionists to lecture there, including Charles Lenox Remond and Frederick Douglass."[20]


Universally, a reliable education system is consistently one of the most important pillars of society. Among that pillar, the existence of Black History Month has frequently been a topic of debate in the educational field. There's often an annual debate about the continued usefulness and fairness of a designated month dedicated to the history of one race. One concern is that the inclusion of black history will discredit the accuracy of history as well as exclude the crucial parts, and distract children from what really matters when they enter their desired careers.[21] Criticisms include questions over whether it is appropriate to confine the celebration of black history to one month, as opposed to integration of black history into the mainstream education the rest of the year. Another criticism is that contrary to the original inspiration for Black History Month, which was a desire to redress the manner in which American schools failed to represent black historical figures as anything other than slaves or colonial subjects, Black History Month reduces complex historical figures to overly simplified objects of hero worship. Other critics refer to the celebration as racist,[22] and that it's existence will do damage to the position of Europe and the United States in their places of world history.

Actor and director Morgan Freeman and actress Stacey Dash have criticized the concept of declaring only one month as Black History Month,[23][24]. Freeman noted, "I don't want a Black history month. Black history is American history."[25] Supporters argue Black History will integrate much needed cultural inclusion and promote a positive, accepting environment where students can correctly learn the history of a people in a primarily Caucasian single story.[26]

See also

Other history months

Heritage months



  1. ^ Lou Veal, "'Black History Month' begins with opening of culture center", Daily Kent Stater, Volume LV, Number 52, February 3, 1970, Kent State University.
  2. ^ Wayde Compton, "Remembering Hogan's Alley, hub of Vancouver's black community", CBC News, February 14, 2016.
  3. ^ "Black History Month Introduction; Prime Minister, Theresa May", September 28, 2016.
  4. ^ "Black History Month Hamburg".
  5. ^ a b "Black History Month 2011 – The Association of Students of African Heritage (ASAH) Netherlands", Afro-Europe, February 1, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Wilson, Milton. "Involvement/2 Years Later: A Report On Programming In The Area Of Black Student Concerns At Kent State University, 1968–1970". Special Collections and Archives: Milton E. Wilson, Jr. papers, 1965–1994. Kent State University. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "About Black History Month". Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  8. ^ Ryan, Órla. "Ireland becomes fourth country in world to celebrate Black History Month".
  9. ^ "BHM365". Black History Month 365. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Daryl Michael Scott, "The Origins of Black History Month," Archived February 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2011,
  11. ^ Reddick, L.D (January – June 2002). "25 Negro History Weeks". The Negro History Bulletin. 65.
  12. ^ a b C.G. Woodson, "Negro History Week," Journal of Negro History, vol. 11, no. 2 (April 1926), p. 238.
  13. ^ Woodson, "Negro History Week", p. 239.
  14. ^ "Negro History Week: The Fourth Year", Journal of Negro History, vol. 14, no. 2 (April 1929), p. 109.
  15. ^ "Negro History Week: The Fourth Year", p. 110.
  16. ^ "'I am so happy': 106-year-old woman dances with joy as she meets Obama". CTVNews. February 22, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  17. ^ "President Gerald R. Ford's Message on the Observance of Black History Month". Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. University of Texas. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  18. ^ Kubara Zamani, "Akyaaba Addai-Sebo Interview", Every Generation Media, reprinted from New African magazine.
  19. ^ "Black History Month FAQ". Black History Month. Archived from the original on February 21, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  20. ^ "How Ireland is celebrating its National Black History Month". October 12, 2018.
  21. ^ Pitre, Abul (November 3, 2002). "The Controversy Around Black History". The Western Journal of Black Studies. 26.
  22. ^ Hirsch, Afua (September 30, 2010). "Black History Month has to be more than hero worship". The Guardian. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  23. ^ McCarter, William Matt (2012). "There is a White Sale at Macy's: Reflections on Black History Month". International Journal of Radical Critique. 1 (2). Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  24. ^ "Stacey Dash says Morgan Freeman agrees with her views on Black History Month, ask for apology from ‘Twitter haters’", TheGrio, January 27, 2016.
  25. ^ "Freeman calls Black History Month 'ridiculous'". MSNBC. December 15, 2005. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  26. ^ Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, The danger of a single story, retrieved February 25, 2019

Further reading

  • Derrick Bell, "Brown v. Board of Education and the Black History Month Syndrome," Harvard Blackletter Law Journal, vol. 1, no. 1 (1984), p. 13.
  • C. G. Woodson, "Negro History Week," Journal of Negro History, vol. 11, no. 2 (April 1926), pp. 238–242. In JSTOR.

External links

Afeni Shakur

Afeni Shakur Davis (born Alice Faye Williams; January 10, 1947 – May 2, 2016) was an American activist, businesswoman, and mother of American rapper and actor Tupac Shakur.

American Experience (season 20)

Season twenty of the television program American Experience originally aired on the PBS network in the United States on January 14, 2008 and concluded on May 6, 2008. The season contained 14 new episodes and began with the film Oswald's Ghost. The last eight parts of the 14-part Eyes on the Prize miniseries were a rebroadcast of the production originally shown during 1990 on PBS. It was shown as a special presentation of American Experience during February in observance of Black History Month.

Black History Month (song)

"Black History Month" is the third single from Death from Above 1979's album You're a Woman, I'm a Machine. The song was given its title by drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger, simply because it was written in February. It reached number 48 on the UK single chart.

The song is also featured on the in-game soundtrack for Project Gotham Racing 3 for the Xbox 360, and appears on the soundtrack for Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. The b-side on the CD single, Luno (Bloc Party vs. Death From Above 1979) is a cover of the Bloc Party song, Luno from Bloc Party's debut album Silent Alarm. The Bloc Party vs. Death From Above 1979 version is included on Bloc Party's remix album, Silent Alarm Remixed.

Carter G. Woodson

Carter Godwin Woodson (December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950) was an American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He was one of the first scholars to study African-American history. A founder of The Journal of Negro History in 1916, Woodson has been cited as the "father of black history". In February 1926 he launched the celebration of "Negro History Week", the precursor of Black History Month.Born in Virginia, the son of former slaves, Woodson had to put off schooling while he worked in the coal mines of West Virginia. He made it to Berea College, becoming a teacher and school administrator. He gained graduate degrees at the University of Chicago and was the second African American to obtain a PhD degree from Harvard University. Most of his academic career was spent at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where Woodson eventually served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Chaska High School

Chaska Senior High School (CHS) is a public high school located in Chaska, Minnesota, a southwestern suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. CHS is a 9th-12 grade school; About 1252 students attend CHS.The school mascot is the "Hawk", with the school colors being purple, white, and gold.

Energy policy of the Barack Obama administration

The Energy Policy of the Obama administration.On April 13, 2015, in honor the black history month of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Obama Administration website summarized the initiatives that the administration is taking or has undertaken:

• A $3.4 billion Smart Grid Investment Grant (part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), which would affect 49 states and has the potential to reduce electricity use by more than 4% by 2033,

• The launch of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) project under the Department of Energy and in collaboration with the Department of Defense, modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency,

• A new report on how the federal government can help create a "self-sustaining home energy efficiency retrofit industry"

• New efficiency standards for home appliances,

• A new National Fuel Efficiency Policy that will apply to cars from model years 2012-2016 and will ultimately require cars to have an average fuel efficiency of 35.5 mpg by 2016,

• Three measures to increase the production of biofuels: a renewable fuels standard, biomass crop assistance program, and a biofuels working group. The President has also created an interagency task force to help create a federal strategy for carbon capture and storage, and

• A new Environmental Protection Agency ruling (called the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule) requiring the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by major emitters in the United States.

French Dahomey

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from 1904 to 1958. After World War II, by the establishment of the French Fourth Republic in 1947, Dahomey became part of the French Union with an increased autonomy. On 11 December 1958, the French Fifth Republic was established and the French Union became the French Community. The colony became the self-governing Republic of Dahomey within the Community, and two years later on 1 August 1960, it gained full independence (and in 1975 changed its name to Benin).

Garland Independent School District

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The district encompasses approximately 100 square miles (260 km2). With a student enrollment of 56,459 students, GISD is currently the fourth largest school district in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and is thirteenth largest district in the state of Texas. Garland High School, the district's first high school, is more than one hundred years old.

In 2009, the school district was rated "academically acceptable" by the Texas Education Agency.

Kahil El'Zabar

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Lincoln's Birthday

Lincoln's Birthday is a legal, public holiday in some U.S. states, observed on the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth on February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville (Hodgensville, Hodgen's Mill), Kentucky. Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, California, Missouri, and New York observe the holiday.

In other states, Lincoln's birthday is not celebrated separately, as a stand-alone holiday. Instead Lincoln's Birthday is combined with a celebration of President George Washington's birthday (also in February) and celebrated either as Washington's Birthday or as Presidents' Day on the third Monday in February, concurrent with the federal holiday.

List of month-long observances

The following is a list of notable month-long observances, recurrent months that are used by various governments, groups and organizations to raise awareness of an issue, commemorate a group or event, or celebrate something.

Manchester Pride

Manchester Pride is an annual LGBT pride festival and parade held each summer in the city of Manchester, England. It is one of the longest running in the country and attracts thousands of visitors to the city's gay village, Canal Street, each year. The festival's events that take place within the Village Since the ombudsman ruling the roads within the gay village are only closed to motor vehicles only and people on foot have unrestricted free access into the gay village and it is an offence for Manchester Pride under section 137 of the highways act to obstruct anyone's access into the gay village and the parade can be watched by any spectator.The current ten-day festival includes a "Pride Fringe" with a series of arts, music and cultural events all over the city as well as community events including poetry readings, quizzes and film showings, culminating in "The Big Weekend", a 72-hour party during the August bank holiday weekend in Canal Street and the surrounding area, with a parade through the streets of Manchester.

National Freedom Day

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Nick News with Linda Ellerbee

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The show is known for allowing normal teenagers to speak out on their own personal opinions on a number of past and current worldwide issues and topics, including events such as Black History Month.

Stacey Dash

Stacey Lauretta Dash (born January 20, 1966 or 1967) is an American actress and former talk show host. Dash is known for her co–starring role as Dionne Marie Davenport in the 1995 feature film Clueless and its eponymous television series. She has also appeared in films such as Moving, Mo' Money, Renaissance Man, and View from the Top. Other television work by Dash includes appearances in series such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Single Ladies and the reality TV show Celebrity Circus. She has also appeared in music videos for Carl Thomas' "Emotional" and Kanye West's "All Falls Down".

The BET Honors

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The Journal of African American History

The Journal of African American History, formerly The Journal of Negro History (1916–2001), is a quarterly academic journal covering African-American life and history. It was founded in 1916 by Carter G. Woodson. The journal is published by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and was established in 1916 by Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland. The journal publishes original scholarly articles on all aspects of the African-American experience. The journal annually publishes more than sixty (60) reviews of recently published books in the fields of African and African-American life and history. Starting in 2018, the Journal was published by the University of Chicago Press.

Thurgood (play)

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