Celebrating Black History Month

Click to enlarge. Infographic created by Bailey Armosky on piktochart.com.

Click to enlarge. Infographic created by Bailey Armosky on piktochart.com.

Black History Month is a celebration of achievements by black Americans. It is a time to recognize the role of African Americans in U.S. history. February was chosen as Black History Month because in 1926, Negro History week was on the second week of February. It’s important that we remember Black History Month and what it symbolizes for all African American citizens.

How The Month Came To Be:

The beginning of Black History month starts in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery in the United States. That September, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The ASNLH was an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Today they are known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

The group Woodson and Moorland formed sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926. They chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, who both wanted to help African American citizens. Negro History week inspired many schools and communities nationwide to create local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances.

Later in the 1960’s, Negro History week started gaining more popularity. Because of the Civil Rights movement, as well as the growing awareness of black identity, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976.

Black History Month Today:

February is important to African Americans because it reminds them of their rich history, and where they came from as people. The month also reminds people of the struggles their families may have faced in the past and how they overcame them.

Many schools across America participate in activities to celebrate Black History Month. Teachers read famous speeches and poems, written by African Americans, to their students and let them write a speech or poem about what they believe in. There are also movies and music about African American history.

Why Some Don’t Support it:

While for most people, Black History Month is a wonderful way to remember the past, some don’t like the idea of having a month to celebrate black history. They argue that there shouldn’t be a whole month dedicated to a single race. Yes, other races have made America what it is today, but throughout history African Americans have made huge contributions to this country although they were not given respect in the past.

Another argument made is that there needs to be “equality for all races” and by making a month only for African Americans, you eliminate that equality. But for hundreds of years these people were treated like they were beneath everyone. Giving them a month to honor their history is the least we could do to make up for how they were treated.

Black History Month is a wonderful way to celebrate all the things African Americans have not only done for this country, but what they did to overcome the struggles that most African Americans faced in America. Remembering our history and the history of other races is important to grow respect for all kinds of people across the country.