By- Angela Padrón
Black History Month is one of the most important celebrations in our country. It recognizes the achievements of many African-Americans throughout our nation’s history. Black History Month began in 1915 by Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard historian, and Jesse E. Moorland who was a prominent minister. They founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), today known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). This organization was dedicated to researching and promoting the accomplishments of black Americans and people of African descent.
In 1926, ASNLH sponsored a national Negro History week during the second week of February. But the week was not just randomly chosen; it coincided with both Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. Soon schools and communities across the country were inspired to celebrate the same and hold local celebrations, lectures, and other related events. Mayors of cities all across the country issued proclamations to celebrate Negro History Week.
Due to the Civil Rights in the 1960s, as well as more and more people understanding the needs of African Americans, the week evolved into a month long celebration and became known as Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month. Every American president since has designated February as Black History Month. Other countries, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, now also designate a month to studying black history.
Historically, minorities have been underrepresented and mistreated solely on the basis of their skin color. Teaching children, as well as adults, about the lives, accomplishments, and sacrifices of black people and people of African decent is an important step to promote tolerance and respect for others.