The History of Black History Month


Negro History Week

Have you ever considered where or who started Black History Month? Before we move on to explain further the importance of Black History Month, let’s first look at its origins. The origins of Black History Month can be traced back to 1915 when the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. On that September day in 1915, Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson (known as the father of Black History Month) and prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting the achievements of Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. This organization created a national “Negro History Week” in 1926. They chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of freedom advocates like Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. This history week inspired schools and communities all over the nation to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, host performances, and give lectures.


Black History Month is a yearlong celebration of the achievements of African Americans and the recognition of their role in U.S. history. Beginning in 1976, every U.S. president assigned the month of February as the month to celebrate black history. All through the years, there have been different themes for Black History Month. These themes highlight how African Americans have perceived themselves in the United States, the impact of racial social movements, and the black community’s goals. The theme for this year is “Black Resistance,” which focuses on African Americans’ resistance to both historical and ongoing oppression. Racial terrorism, racially motivated killings, police killings, and other forms of oppression fall into this category. Black History Month is significant because it represents both the past and the present. African Americans have struggled, and continue to struggle, to live up to the ideals of this systemic racial society. Every day, however, they are reminded that there is no such thing as true liberty, freedom, or justice for all.

These are some of the highlighted African American individuals that have been an advocate of fighting for racial justice. 


Harriet Tubman: A brave leader during the underground railroad movement

Sojourner Truth: Abolitionis

Marcus Garvey: Jamaican Activist 

Martin Luther King Jr.: Well-Known Civil Rights Leader

Malcolm X: Minister and Human rights activist

Rosa Parks: Civil rights activist in Alabama

Jackie Robinson: First African American Professional baseball player to play in the U.S. major baseball league. 

Frederick Douglass: Abolitionist

Medgar Evers: Civil rights Activist

Booker T. Robinson: An American educator, author, and advisor to many U.S. presidents.

Shirley Chislsom: First Black woman to be elected to the united states congress in 1968.

Muhammed Ali: American professional boxer and activist. 

Using these sources, you can find additional information on black history month and its contributors: Link #1. Link #2