The History of Black History

Black History Month is an annual celebration that is observed in Canada, Ireland, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom as well as the United States. We celebrate it in February along with Canada. Ireland, the Netherlands and Ireland celebrate in October. (Wikipedia)

It all began with when Carter G. Woodson, a historian and one of the founders of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), announced that the second week of February would be “Negro History Week”. This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas.

The sole purpose of this was to encourage the teaching of the history of Black Americans in the nation’s public schools. Woodson said that the “teaching of Black History was essential to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of our race”. Initially, the celebration of Negro History Week was met with a lukewarm response but eventually, it gained momentum with churches playing a significant role.

Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later. It wasn’t until 1976 that Black History Month would be officially recognized by the federal government. During the celebration of the United States Bicentennial, President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month and urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history”. (Wikipedia)

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987 thanks to Akyaaba Addai-Sebo. In 1995, after a motion by politician Jean Augustine, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month. In 2008, Senator Donald Oliver moved to have the Canadian Senate officially recognized Black History Month. In 2014, Ireland became the 4th country in the world to officially celebrate Black History Month. During the nineteenth century, the city was the leading center of abolition.

Black history is not only American history but World history! Tell me what Black History means to you.