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10 Facts about Black History Month

10 Fascinating Facts about Black History Month

Black History Month is the month dedicated to the celebration of African American?s
contributions to the United States. Read on learn 10 fascinating facts about Black History Month.

1. Black History Month was not always celebrated for an entire month! This month grew
out of National Negro Week, which was started by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. He
began this celebration in an effort to raise public consciousness of African Americans?
contributions to American history.
2. Carter G. Woodson?s organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and
History, was the initial sponsor of the event. It was founded to increase the public
visibility and historical acknowledgments received by African Americans in 1916. This
organization lives on today as the Association for the Study of African American Life
and History (ASALH).
3. The first Negro History Week was well received around the country. Woodson
encouraged communities around the country to celebrate with lectures, performances and
festivals. Teachers of all colors asked for materials to teach their students.
4. Black History Month was first celebrated for an entire month in 1976. President Gerald
R. Ford proclaimed it as officially taking place in the month of February. Every single
United States president since has declared the month of February to be Black History
5. Each year the president announces a specific theme for this year?s Black History Month.
The theme for 2012 is ways that black women have shaped the United States. Past themes
include African Americans and the Civil War (2011), the History of Black Economic
Empowerment (2010), and the Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas (2009).
6. One of the goals of ASALH for this year?s Black History Month is to broaden the
nation?s understanding of African American women. It is a sad truth that many American
only know a few of the most prominent African American women who have contributed
to the nation?s history. They would like to introduce the nation to some of the lesser
known African American women whose influence has been just as impressive.
7. February was chosen for Negro History Month because it had both Lincoln?s and
Frederick Douglas? birthdays. These two giants of the history of African American in the
country were a logical choice around which to organize the celebration.
8. Woodson was also making a political decision when he chose those two birthdays.
Lincoln?s birthday had been celebrated by Republicans, both white and black since his
death. Frederick Douglas? birthday had been celebrated by black communities since the
late 1890s.
9. Woodson envisioned this celebration as a celebration of an entire community, not
merely prominent individuals. He noted that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation
Proclamation, but it was the entire Union Army that is responsible for the actual act of

10. Despite opponents of Black History Month who feel that dedicating a month to Black
Americans implies the country can ignore the community for the rest of the year,
Woodson himself felt that his Negro History Week was only the tip of the iceberg. He
contemplated ideas for Negro History Year and helped developed ways for teachers to
integrate African Americans into their history lessons year-round.