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Today is officially the first day of Black History Month.
Across the country, families, brands and businesses will be rolling out campaigns and initiatives to honor the history of Black Americans. The Black community has contributed more to American culture (and to the world) than we will ever receive credit for.
This year’s theme is Black Resistance.
“African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings since our arrival upon these shores,” the ASALH said of this year’s theme. “These efforts have been to advocate for a dignified self-determined life in a just democratic society in the United States and beyond the United States political jurisdiction.”
Why do we celebrate Black History Month in February?
In 1925, Carter G. Woodson, known as the “father of Black history,” and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.
In 1926, the ASNLH designated the second week of February as Negro History Week. The week was assigned to promote and educate people about Black history and culture. Over the years, many college campuses and cities across the nation embraced Negro History Week, and by the late 1960s, it had evolved into what is now known as Black History Month.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized BHM. While announcing the celebration, he encouraged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
In case you missed it, you can watch Professor Karen Hunter and Dr. Greg Carr’s latest lesson on “The Origins of Black History Month,” below.