Black History Month

Happy February, and happy Black History Month! Every February we dedicate a month to remind ourselves to celebrate the achievements made by black Americans, as well as recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.

Carter G. Woodson was a Harvard educated historian, and in 1915 with prominent misister, Jesse E. Moorland, founded the Association for the Study of African American LifeĀ and History. The ASALH isĀ dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other people of African descent. This group saw the need to designate a time to celebrate African American people. They chose the second week in February, as to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, and called it Back History Week. The idea soon to celebrate spread to schools and communities nationwide.

During the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Back History Week became Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month, and encouraged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

From Harriet Tubman to Booker T. Washington to the Obamas, Black Americans have accomplished some truly amazing things. Madam CJ Walker was America’s first self-made female millionaire. George Washington Carver derived nearly 300 products from peanuts. Thrugood Marshall was the first African American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and served from 1967 to 1991. Without Lewis Latimer, lightbulbs wouldn’t last nearly as long as they do, and Alexander Graham Bell might not have invented the telephone without Latimer’s help. Garret Morgan invented the early version of the gas mask, as well as the traffic signal. These are just a few of the countless amazing things Black Americans have done.

Take time to reflect on the contributions, achievements, and advances African Americans have made not only this month, but every month. Happy Black History Month!

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