To everything there is an origin, a beginning, a seed of thought that blossoms into an idea and eventually gains forward momentum. The same is true with what we now call “Black History Month“.
The story of “Black History Month” began as an idea, in the mind of Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson. Early on in the year 1915, as Mr. Carter was discussing with a group of African-American men at a YMCA in Chicago, he convinced them that an organization focused on striving for a balanced history was needed. Later in the same year (September 1915) half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States along with prominent minister, Jesse E. Moorland, Mr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The organization’s main purpose was to research and promote the achievements of black Americans and other people of African descent. The ASNLH today is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The creation of Negro History Week in 1926 thus paved the way for the establishment of “Black History Month” in 1976. Since its inception the celebration has grown.
Today “Black History Month” is celebrated nationwide. Schools and communities alike continue to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures all, in a collaborative effort to celebrate historical figures who range from abolitionists to jazz musicians. To everything there is an origin, a beginning, a seed of thought that blossoms into an idea and eventually gains forward momentum.