The Origins of Black History Month

Carter G. WoodsonBlack History Month was first officially recognized by the US government in 1976. People often use this time to reflect on historical events, from slavery to the civil rights movement, and also to celebrate the racial unity we have today. So, how did Black History Month get started?

Carter G. Woodson was a black historian in the 20th century, and is known as the “father” of African-American history, largely because of his part in creating Black History Month. After receiving his PhD at Harvard University, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, with whom he proposed that Negro History Week be celebrated during the second week of February. According to the Association for Study of African American Life and History, Woodson believed that the month should honor the countless black men and women who had contributed to the advance of human civilizations.

In 1976, Black History Week was transformed into Black History Month with the help of students at Kent State University. In 1986, Congress passed a law which designated February 1986 as “National Black (Afro-American) History Month”. Today, both the United States and Canada celebrate black history in the month of February.

“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” – Carter G. Woodson