What Is Black History Month?
All About Black History Month
By Cara J. Stevens
Black History Month celebrates contributions made by African Americans and people of African descent around the world. It was started by an African American man named Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Back then, it was called Negro History Week and was celebrated the second week of February. Now it is celebrated for the whole month of February in the United States and Canada, and the month of October in the United Kingdom.
Why was Black History Month started?
Dr. Woodson studied African American culture and encouraged other people to study it, too. He felt it was important for people to recognize the great contributions black people have made. He devoted his life to educating people as a teacher, a writer, and a publisher. He was also a political activist who worked to make sure the government treated African Americans fairly.
Negro History Week was set for the second week in February to celebrate the birthdays of two people who worked hard for African Americans: Abraham Lincoln, the white president who freed the slaves, and Frederick Douglass, the first African American Vice Presidential nominee.
Negro History Week became Black History Month in 1976, in celebration of our nation's 200th birthday.
How do people feel about Black History Month?
Some people feel it's unfair to set aside a month celebrating the history of one race. Others say that celebrating black history separately from American History underlines the idea that African Americans are not Americans, and their history is set apart from mainstream culture. But people who think black history is important say that as long as there is racism, unfairness, and a lack of understanding of black culture, there is a place for Black History Month.
Ways to Celebrate Black History Month
No matter what your background, everyone can celebrate the importance of Black History Month. Celebrate the achievements and inventions of the black people featured in this article by reading about them below. Which important figures below contributed something that means a lot to you? Find a way to commemorate those achievements that affect your everyday life, whether it's through art, film, literature, music, education, civil rights, sports or even food!
Visit our list of Black History links for more great ideas!
Cara J. Stevens is a freelance writer.