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Celebrating Black History Month

While the accomplishments of African-Americans should be celebrated all year long, February is the month when we focus on their contributions to American society.

The roots of Black History month can be traced to the early part of the 20th century. In 1925, Carter G. Woodson, an educator and historian, began campaigning among schools, journals and black newspapers calling for a Negro History Week to be celebrated.

This would honor the importance of black achievement and contribution in the United States. He was able to institute this Negro History Week in 1926 during the second week of February. This time was chosen because Abraham Lincoln"s and Frederick Douglass" birthdays occurred then. Woodson was awarded the Springarn Medal from the NAACP for his accomplishment. In 1976, Negro History Week turned into Black History Month which we celebrate today. Read more about Carter Woodson.

It is important for students not only to understand recent history concerning African-Americans, but also to understand their past. Before Great Britain made it illegal for the colonists to be involved in the slave trade, between 600,000 and 650,000 Africans were forcibly brought to America. They were transported across the Atlantic and sold into forced labor for the rest of their lives, leaving family and home behind.

As teachers, we should not only teach about the horrors of slavery, but also about the African origin of the African-Americans who live in America today.

Slavery has existed throughout the world since ancient times. However, one big difference between slavery in many cultures and the slavery that was experienced in America was that while slaves in other cultures could gain freedom and become part of society, African-Americans did not have that luxury.

Because almost all of the Africans on American soil were slaves, it was extremely hard for any black person who had gained freedom to be accepted into society. Even after slavery was abolished following the Civil War, black Americans had a difficult time of being

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