Too often we move with the motion of events and holidays without knowing exactly why and how they have become significant in our lives. Many times, we are unaware of how to relay the importance of monumental events to our children because we have yet to educate ourselves on the premise. Today, I am diving into history to truly understand the meaning of “Black History Month”, why it was created and who founded a national movement to archive the achievements of so many influential leaders. Read more, below:
Why We Celebrate Black History Month
The need for a designated time to celebrate and reflect on the accomplishments of African Americans started with Carter G. Woodson. A distinguished African American man with a bachelor degree from the University of Chicago and a PH.D from Harvard. While obtaining his educational degrees, Woodson was distraught at the lack of African American representation in books that shaped American history. Woodson knew our history’s narrative was an injustice to all by leaving out the stories of significant leaders that truly helped us shape this nation.
In 1915, Jesse E. Moorland and Woodson, created the Association for the Study of Negro Life & History, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life & History. This organization promotes, disseminates, interprets and preserves information about life, history and the study of African American accomplishments and culture.
Woodson says, ” 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.”
To help schools systems focus on the topic of African American History, Woodson launched the “Negro History Week” in February of 1926. The news spreading quickly and soon their was a demand for teaching materials and instructions.
In the 1960’s, many teachers, students and leaders complained about the American History books deliberately neglecting African American accomplishments by only acknowledging two leaders. It was in 1964, when author James Baldwin and other educational institutions decided to no longer ignore that history has been taught without the cognizance of African American presence. Colleges and Universities across the nation began to transform the celebrated week into a month long celebration, naming it, Black History Month.
A number of prominent leaders and mayors announced Black History Month an annual celebration from that moment forward. In 1976, President Ford announced Black History Month a national observance and every President thereafter has observed this holiday including Canada and the United Kingdom.
Former President Ford, shared “In celebrating Black History Month, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of African Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.
We celebrate Black History Month because this is the time to honor those prominent leaders that are often forgotten, misrepresented and undervalued throughout our American History books. We celebrate Black History in February as a national holiday however, each month and each day is a celebration of the achievements of African Americans.
How are you celebrating African American History Month?
Chat soon! Ro’Shunda