Black History Month 2024: Facts, Origins & Quotes | HISTORY (2024)

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

Origins of Black History Month

Black History Month

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.

Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing "Negro History Week." By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, "Negro History Week" had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Today, Black History Month is a time to honor the contributions and legacy of African Americans across U.S. history and society—from activists and civil rights pioneers such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth,Marcus Garvey,Martin Luther King Jr.,Malcolm X and Rosa Parks to leaders in industry, politics, science, culture and more.

Did you know? The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

Black History Month 2024 Theme

Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.

The Black History Month 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” explores the key influence African Americans have had in the fields of "visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression."

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Black History Month 2024: Facts, Origins & Quotes | HISTORY (2024)

FAQs

What is the Black history fact for 2024? ›

The Black History Month 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” explores the key influence African Americans have had in the fields of "visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression."

What is the 2024 theme for Black History Month? ›

Each year, Black History Month brings another opportunity to discover contributions that enrich our nation. The 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” explores the creativity, resilience and innovation from a culture that has uplifted spirits and soothed souls in countless ways across centuries.

What are some facts about the origin of Black History Month? ›

It was first celebrated during the second week of February in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass (February 14). In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded to a month.

What are the powerful quotes for Black History Month? ›

"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less." "Where there is no vision, there is no hope." "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." "Truth is powerful and it prevails."

What is the theme of the African American read in 2024? ›

Watch this space for information about the 2025 AARI events, coming soon. The 2024 theme is BLACK ECOLOGIES: We will read environmental literature by Black writers, exploring a range of engagements with the natural world, from wilderness to environmental justice and climate change.

What are three Black history facts? ›

William Tucker, son of indentured servants from Great Britain, was the first recorded African child to be born in the colonies in 1624. Vermont was the first colony to ban slavery in 1777. In the 1770s, a Quaker named Anthony Benezet created the first school for African American children.

What is the proclamation for Black History Month 2024? ›

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a proclamation declaring February 2024 as Black History Month. This month, we pay homage to the rich history and contributions of Black Americans who have shaped our state and nation in countless ways through centuries of struggle and triumph.

What is the theme of African Americans in the Arts 2024? ›

In 2024, we examine the varied history and life of African American arts and artisans. For centuries Western intellectuals denied or minimized the contributions of people of African descent to the arts as well as history, even as their artistry in many genres was mimicked and/or stolen.

Why is February a Black History Month? ›

Woodson chose February for reasons of tradition and reform. It is commonly said that Woodson selected February to encompass the birthdays of two great Americans who played a prominent role in shaping black history, namely Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are the 12th and the 14th, respectively.

What is the true history of Black History Month? ›

It was Carter G. Woodson, the "father of Black history," who first set out in 1926 to designate a time to promote and educate people about Black history and culture, according to W. Marvin Dulaney. He is a historian and the president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Who was the first Black millionaire? ›

It denotes someone with an unusually high net worth who enjoys the freedoms and pleasures associated with that net worth. Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919), who started life as a Louisiana sharecropper born to formerly enslaved parents in 1867, is usually cited as the first Black millionaire.

How old is the Black History Month? ›

Carter G. Woodson was a scholar whose dedication to celebrating the historic contributions of Black people led to the establishment of Black History Month, marked every February since 1976.

What is the slogan for Black History Month 2024? ›

The Black History Month 2024 theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” explores the key influence African Americans have had in the fields of “visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression.”

What is the most inspiring story from Black History Month? ›

Harriet Tubman was a remarkable African-American woman who risked her life to help hundreds of enslaved people escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad. During the course of her lifetime, Tubman helped thousands of enslaved people escape from bondage, carrying them safely through the dense swamps of the South.

What is a powerful poem for Black History Month? ›

Caged Bird” Maya Angelou

describes the different experiences of two birds. One is caged and suffers due to being held in captivity, while the other is free to live and roam the world with no restraints. Because of its harsh reality, the caged bird turns to sing and longs for freedom.

What is the theme for Black History Month 2025? ›

The theme, “African Americans and Labor,” intends to encourage broad reflections on intersections between Black people's work and their workplaces in all their iterations and key moments, themes, and events in Black history and culture across time and space and throughout the U.S., Africa, and the Diaspora.

What happened on February 14th in Black history? ›

Historian Carter G. Woodson launched Black History Week in 1926 to recognize the significant contributions of African Americans during the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist/writer Frederick Douglass (February 14).

What is the 400 years of African American history? ›

The 400 Years of African-American History Commission develops and facilitates activities throughout the United States, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia in 1619.

What is the 13th Black history? ›

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865, formally abolished slavery throughout the United States. But ending slavery was only a first step toward securing full freedom and citizenship rights for African Americans.

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