February 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month. Learn more about the national holiday’s origins and more here.
Black History Month is celebrated every February to honor the achievements and history of black American citizens. While it was only officially recognized as a national holiday in 1976, the origins of Black History Month go back to the early 1900s. In September 1915, Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The group, dedicated to “researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent,” sponsored a national Negro History Week in 1926 in the second week of February, during the birthdays of both 16th president Abraham Lincoln and famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
The group, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), had created an annual event that mayors nationwide began recognizing officially. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the rise of the civil rights movement, Negro History Week became Black History Month on many college campuses. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, telling Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” We now celebrate the great black Americans who have changed the face of the nation, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to Harriet Tubman, to Barack and Michelle Obama.
Every Black History Month has a theme, and in 2018, it’s “African Americans in Times of War.” This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Black History Month 2018 will honor the roles that black Americans embodied in war and the military, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. As of press time, President Donald Trump has not recognized Black History Month yet. We’ll be updating this post with his message when he does.
HollywoodLifers, how are you celebrating Black History Month? Let us know.