"What is Black History Month? Well, Black History Month is an annual celebration of the achievements by African Americans..." -Aeryon Jackson
What is Black History Month? Well, Black History Month is an annual celebration of the achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in the U.S. Since February 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
In September 1915, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. It is an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and others of African descent. It has since become known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. This group sponsored National Negro History week in 1926. They chose for it to take place the second week of February so it can coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event soon inspired schools, along with other communities, to organize celebrations, make history clubs, and host performances and lectures.
In the following years, across the counties, mayors began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. As early as 1940s, blacks in West Virginia began to celebrate February as Negro History Month. In Chicago, a now forgotten cultural activist, Frederick H. Hammaurabi, started celebrating Negro History Month in the mid-1960s. Hammaurabi used his cultural center, the House of Knowledge, to fuse African consciousness with the study of the black past.
In the late 1960s, as young blacks on college campuses became more aware of links with Africa, Black History Month replaced Negro History Week. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month. He called 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.”
When Carter G. Woodson first established Negro History week in 1926, he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. “The intention has never been to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.” said ASALH. Over the years, the themes reflect changes in how people of African descent in the United States have viewed themselves, the influence of social movements on racial topics, and the aspirations of the black community.
The Black History Month 2019 theme is “Black Migrations.” The theme will focus on “the movement of African Americans to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities” said the Association for the study of African American Life and History, when interviewed by Augusta University.