The Origin of Black History Month
In 1915, in response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people available to the public, historian Carter G. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926, the group declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” to recognize the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Few people studied Black history and it wasn’t included in textbooks prior to the creation of Negro History Week. This week was chosen because it includes the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist (someone who wanted to end the practice of enslaving people), and former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
The week-long event officially became Black History Month in 1976 when U.S. President Gerald Ford extended the recognition to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States every February since 1976.