Black History Month is a month set aside to learn, honor, and celebrate the achievements of black men and women throughout history. Since its inception, Black History Month has always been celebrated in February. Find out how Black History Month originated, why February was chosen, and what the annual theme for Black History Month is for this year.
The origins of Black History Month can be traced back to a man named Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950).
Woodson, the son of former slaves, was an amazing man in his own right. Since his family was too poor to send him to school as a child, he taught himself the basics of a school education. At age 20, Woodson was finally able to attend high school, which he completed in just two years.
Woodson then went on to earn a bachelors and masters degree from the University of Chicago. In 1912, Woodson became only the second African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University ( W.E.B. Du Bois was the first). Woodson used his hard-earned education to teach. He taught both in public schools and at Howard University.
Three years after earning his doctorate, Woodson made a trip that had a great impact on him. In 1915, he traveled to Chicago to participate in a three-week celebration of the 50th anniversary of the end of slavery. The excitement and enthusiasm generated by the events inspired Woodson to continue the study of black history year-round.
Before leaving Chicago, Woodson and four others created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) on September 9, 1915. The following year, the ASNLH began publication of the Journal of Negro History.
Woodson realized that most textbooks at the time ignored the history and achievements of blacks.
Thus, in addition to the journal, he wanted to find a way to encourage interest and study of black history.
In 1926, Woodson promoted the idea of a Negro History Week, which was to be held during the second week of February. The idea caught on quickly and Negro History Week was soon celebrated around the United