A History of Black History Month: A Great Time to Educate Ourselves


Gracie Sandman, Print/Online Editor-in-Chief

50 years after the Thirteenth Amendment legally abolished slavery in the United States, the celebration of Black History Month began. Carter G. Woodson, a historian from Harvard, and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History which is now known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).  The group sponsored a National Negro History week in 1926 which was set during the second week of February to happen during the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. 

Black History Month is an annual celebration dedicated to honoring the prominent role of African Americans in U.S. history. 

“We can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,”noted President Gerald Ford.

Since President Ford officially recognized Black History month in 1976, presidents of the United States have dedicated each February to celebrating a different theme. The 2020 theme is “African Americans and the Vote” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote and the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment giving black men the right to vote. 

Although President Ford dedicated the month of February to Black History Month, every day is an opportunity to honor the black leaders of our community and educate ourselves about black history. 

“We can honor the African Americans who have had an impact on our history by believing, acknowledging and amplifying the voices of the black people that we do have in our community. 

Making an effort to hear the stories of African Americans that maybe we haven’t heard already is also important,” says Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator Sarah Brier Boland. 

“We know who Rosa Parks is… we’ve heard that ‘I have a dream’ speech… we’re all really familiar with Dr. King, but there’s a lot of important black history beyond the civil rights movement. Making an effort to research more about something you come across in history class outside of class is another way to educate yourself,” encouraged Brier Boland.

##Sources: History.com, Time.com

That also extends into the social network community. So looking at your feeds and seeing who’s on your feed, who are you following, do you have black voices represented in your feed so that Black History Month should not be the only time people stop to celebrate the African Americans who have changed our history. African Americans have shaped what the United States has become throughout time so it is the nation’s duty to be thankful for all the strong black men and women. You can actually take in information about what people right now are saying from the black community. And again, you can listen to believe and amplify those voices too by reposting things.