Holidays and Seasons - Black History Month
Black History Month is often held in February, celebrating the achievements of our African-American brothers and sisters. This has been the norm since 1976, and the many things Black Americans have accomplished is put into the spotlight, especially in schools and in the media. Yes, that runs for the entire 28 days of February (29 if it’s a leap year).
During this month, there will be many museums that feature galleries exhibiting art by Black Americans. It’s the perfect avenue to know more about Black history and culture, so these exhibits are a nice thing to consider. Schools may also invite speakers to give short presentations about Black history and culture. This way, even kids can see the truth of what life is for their Black classmates and their families. Aside from this, various cities also hold community events that commemorate Black History month. For those who are curious, there is no shortage of educational materials and events especially during this time of the year.
Why is this event necessary? According to the historian Carter G. Woodson, there has not been any significant mention in American history books of the contributions of Black Americans to the country. Woodson then started an awareness campaign, which was first dubbed as “Negro History Week”, and set it to run every second week of February.
Why February, though, and why the second week specifically? According to Woodson, two prominent figures had birthdays during this week: Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14. With the influence of these well-known individuals, the event gained the attention of the public, spreading through universities and whole cities. Thanks to the ever-increasing support of many communities all around the country, the one-week commemoration poured over into the whole month of February.
Finally, in 1976, then President Gerald Ford officialized every February as Black History Month, encouraging everyone to honor everything that Black Americans have accomplished for the country. Since then, it has been a time-honored tradition.