Black History Month (2024)

Every February, people in the United States celebrate the achievements and history of African Americans as part of Black History Month.

HOW IT STARTED

In 1915, in response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people available to the public, historian Carter G. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926, the group declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” to recognize the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Few people studied Black history and it wasn't included in textbooks prior to the creation of Negro History Week.

This week was chosen because it includes the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist (someone who wanted to end the practice of enslaving people), and former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln led the United States during the Civil War, which was primarily fought over the enslavement of Black people in the country. Many schools and leaders began recognizing the week after its creation.

The week-long event officially became Black History Month in 1976 when U.S. president Gerald Ford extended the recognition to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States every February since.

WHAT IT HONORS

Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today.

Among the notable figures often spotlighted during Black History Month are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for equal rights for Blacks during the 1950s and ’60s; Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1967; Mae Jemison, who became the first female African-American astronaut to travel to space in 1992; and Barack Obama, who was elected the first-ever African-American president of the United States in 2008.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH TODAY

Since the first Negro History Week in 1926, other countries have joined the United States in celebrating Black people and their contribution to history and culture, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Today Black History Month continues the discussion of Black people and their contributions through activities such as museum exhibits and film screenings, and by encouraging the study of achievements by African Americans year-round.

(Learn more at National Geographic.)

Black History Month (2024)

FAQs

What are the main points of Black History Month? ›

Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today.

What do you say for Black History Month? ›

Top 10 Best Black History Month Quotes:

"The time is always right to do what is right." "I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear." "Have a vision. Be demanding."

What are 2 important facts about 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 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.

Who was the first Black famous person? ›

Richard Potter, America's First Black Celebrity - Black Heritage Trail NH.

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.

What is one black history fact? ›

Hiram Rhodes Revels of Mississippi was the first African American member of the United States Senate. He took the oath of office on February 25, 1870. Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives. She was elected in 1968 and represented the state of New York.

Why is black history so important? ›

Black history is world history. Black History Month represents Black influence around the world. Today, we not only celebrate the Black astronauts, scientists, inventors, artists, and activists of the past; we also celebrate the rise of Black business, arts, and literature that will influence the future.

Why is it called Black History Month? ›

National Black History Month has its origins in 1915, when historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. This organization is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Why do I love Black History Month? ›

It is a time to reflect on the people and events that have helped shape African American history and culture, and to recognize the importance of the diverse voices that contribute to our society. Black History Month is a reminder to uphold the values of inclusion, respect, and understanding for all.

What are the questions for black history debate? ›

Is there a black American culture? Is Affirmative Action necessary? Was the Civil Rights Movement a product of government action or grass-roots pressure? Is the underclass problem a matter of structure or agency?

What is the most important event in black history? ›

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865). Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

Who asked for Black History Month? ›

Black educators and Black United Students at Kent State University first proposed Black History Month in February 1969.

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