“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition,
it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”
-Dr. Carter G. Woodson
February is here, and it’s not only a month that’s known for hearts, flowers, and chocolates, but also for it’s observance of African-American contributions and achievements in US history.
A Small History
Originally, Black History Month did not last for the entire month of February, but only a week. Dr. Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875 from former enslaved people. He received his masters from the University of Chicago and became the second African American to graduate with a Ph.D from Harvard University. Inspired by his attendance the Lincoln Jubilee’s 50th commemoration ceremony which highlighted African American achievements, Woodson would later go on to create “Negro History Week” in February, 1926. He believed that celebrating Black history will have a great impact for future generations of leaders. (Chambers).
Although nationally, with the momentum and importance “Negro History Week” held, one week turned into a month, it was not until 1976 that a sitting US president, President Gerald Ford, officially recognized Black History Month stating, “In celebrating Black Hostory Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideal envisioned by our founding fathers…we can seize thethe opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our hisotry.” (Chambers).
Ways to Celebrate Black History Month
As children, and if you are still one this may seems all too familiar (!), we often learned about Black History Month -the persons involved and historic events in school- through books, and possibly even through film; but you should note that there are other ways to celebrate Black History Month that is new, creative, and fun.
- Watch movies, documentaries, and even plays that are dedicated to Black History. I know I am not the only one that has Hulu, Netflix, or Youtube!
Here are some recommendations: Soul (2020), The Princess and the Frog (2009), The Great Debaters (2007), Remember the Titans (2000)
- Using your local newspaper or Google, try to find local Black History Events within your community or your surrounding area to attend. For me, I am planning to attend the Black History Market in Riverside, California.
- Look online for online Black History Events. Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t have time or the means to officially attend an event or activity in person, but there is always an online option. Check Eventbrite for upcoming free and low priced events to attend.
All in all, there are a plethora of ways to celebrate and observe Black History Month; it’s not limited to the options listed above, but it can be a start. Happy 2022 Black History Month.
- Theme of 2022 Black History Month: “Black Health and Wellness”.
- February was chosen for Black History Week because it housed both Abraham Lincoln’s and Fredrick Douglass’ celebratory days. (History)