Who Started #BlackHistoryMonth ?

PicMonkey Collage

Black History Month traces back to September 1915. Harvard graduate and historian, Carter G. Woodson (pictured left), and minister Jesse E. Moorland, (pictured right), founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) – a prominent organization that focused on researching and promoting achievements of black Americans and peoples of African descent. Presently, ASNLH is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and in 1926, the now renamed group sponsored a National Negro History week. This week was set in the second week of February so as to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Federick Douglas. The week encouraged schools and communities to hold local celebrations, establish history clubs, host performances, and lectures, that celebrate and bring to light, black excellence. As time went on, mayors of cities and citizens across the United States, engaged in yearly pronouncements, pushing for and enabling, the recognition of Negro History Week. Following along with the Civil Rights Movement, in the late 1960s, there was an awareness of black identity, transforming Negro History Week, into Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford – the 38th President of the United States – officially recognized, and proclaimed February, as Black History Month. President Ford stated that Americans should “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Following this decree in 1976, every American president has abided by the unwritten law that February is the month to reflect on the past and present ills, being thrust upon black individuals worldwide, as well as to acknowledge our many successes in such a world where our success, is always being questioned.

 

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