Black History Month (aka African American month) is a month set aside in the United States and their embassies around the world to celebrate the contributions of the African descents to the history of America. It is celebrated annually in February (1st to 28th). Therefore, today begins the celebration of Black History Month 2019.
Moving forward, this year’s Black History Month is going by the theme;
“At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality:Tthe Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”
This was announced by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History
How Black History Month Started!
Black History Month began as a manner of celebrating important people as well as events in the African Diaspora. It started as a ‘Negro History Week’ with the pioneer as Dr. Carter G. Woodson (a Harvard-trained historian), who initially chose the 2nd week of February as it coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass. However, the “Negro History Week” of 1926 was met with an unenthusiastic comeback.
Later, the reaction towards the celebration of Negro History Week changed and it grew in popularity through the aid of media, the church and creation of Black History clubs. It is good to note that Black history was not studied in schools nor documented properly in history books prior to this celebrations in the early part of 20th century.
On the long run, Black History Month became a reality in the latter part of 20th century, when it was first marked by some black educators at Kent University from January to February 1970. However, in 1976, Gerald R Ford made it a full month of celebration. Years down the line, Black History Month is celebrated annually, from February 1st – 28th.
Why should you celebrate Black History Month?
The celebration of the Black History Month often brings about a debate among many people (blacks and other races), whether it is necessary to dedicate just a month to the history of a race or to leave out the celebration completely and rather integrate it with the conventional teaching in schools for the rest of the year.
But, celebrating the Black History Month proves that you recognize and honour the historic leaders of the Black community. They deserve to be honoured in a more special way for the sacrifices made in the struggle for racial equality. Such leaders include but not limited to:
- Martin Luther King
- W. E. B. DuBois
- Hiram R Revels
- Malcom X
- Marcus Garvey
- Booker T
Celebrating these people and many others gives us the opportunity to highlight the unsurpassed aspects of black history and values. It also helps to create awareness for all people.
Whose leadership or event would you like to celebrate this month? What do you think about the Black History Month in general? Please, provide responses in the comment section below.