The history of Black History Month

Published On: Jan 28 2014 10:49:39 AM EST
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 08:49:41 AM EST

Black History Month is a time spent recognizing the achievements of African-American’s and their role in U.S. History. Like any other period of observance, this celebration has a history of its own. The history behind Black History Month is one that few know, but many wonder about. Here are the answers to the questions you’ve been wondering about.

Q: What is the origin of Black History Month?
A: Carter G. Woodson, born December 19, 1875, founded Negro History Week (which later became Black History Month) in 1926. The goal of the celebration was to create and popularize knowledge about the black past.

Q: Are there are other countries that celebrate Black History Month?
A: Canada celebrates Black History Month in February along with America. The United Kingdom also celebrates Black History Month, but in October.

Q: Why is Black History Month celebrated in February?
A: The month of February was chosen due to the fact that it was the same month as Abraham Lincoln birth and Frederick Douglass death, who both were instrumental in instating the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.

Q: Is it true that Black History Month is themed?
A: Yes! Every year there's a different theme for February's celebration of Black History Month. The theme for Black History Month is announced annually by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in Washington DC. This year’s theme is “The Golden Jubilee of the Civil Rights Act."

Past themes have included:

  • 2000 Heritage and Horizons: The African American Legacy and the Challenges for the 21st Century
  • 2001 Creating and Defining the African American Community: Family, Church Politics and Culture
  • 2002 The Color Line Revisited: Is Racism Dead?
  • 2003 The Souls of Black Folks: Centennial Reflections
  • 2004 Before Brown, Beyond Boundaries: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
  • 2005 The Niagara Movement: Black Protest Reborn, 1905-2005
  • 2006 Celebrating Community: A Tribute to Black Fraternal, Social, and Civil Institutions
  • 2007 From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas
  • 2008 Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism
  • 2009 The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas
  • 2010 The History of Black Economic Empowerment
  • 2011 African Americans and the Civil War
  • 2012 Black Women in American Culture and History
  • 2012 President Barack Obama National Black History Month Proclamation

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