NATIONAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH
National Black History Month, also known as National African American History Month, during February is a time for all Americans to celebrate the achievements of African Americans. The month recognizes their central role in American history.
Other countries, including Canada and Great Britain, have also set aside months to honor black history. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and noted civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass. The first record of Africans arriving in North America is dated 1619, when a privateer ship carrying “twenty and odd” Africans landed at Point Comfort, Virginia, which is now modern-day Hampton, Virginia. The Africans were traded as slaves in exchange for provisions.
African-American’s impact our society throughout history and in numerous ways. Here are just a few prominent individuals we honor this month:
- Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court. We recognize Thurgood Marshall every year on National Maryland Day.
- George Washington Carver developed over 300 products from peanuts. Celebrate George Washington Carver and his contributions to the peanut industry on National Peanut Day.
- Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to U.S. House of Representatives.
- Rosa Parks helped initiate the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Celebrate Rosa Park on Rosa Parks Day and learn more about her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
- Louis Armstrong is widely known as a jazz pioneer. Information about Louis Armstrong can be found in November on National Louisiana Day.
- Colin Powell is a 4-star General who became Secretary of State. Colin Powell dedicated the Buffalo Soldier Monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, establishing the first Buffalo Soldiers Day.
- Barack Obama was elected the first Black President of the United States.
HOW TO OBSERVE #BlackHistoryMonth
Learn more about African-American history. Here are a few books we suggest reading during Black History Month:
- Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
- Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King
- The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- Native Son by Richard Wright
Use #BlackHistoryMonth on social media and start a book discussion.
NATIONAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH HISTORY
Black History Month was created by twentieth-century historian Carter Woodson, who believed black Americans were not adequately represented in the study of American history. Carter Woodson hoped for the day when black history would be accepted as a part of American history. Formerly known as Negro History Week, Black History Month was officially declared by President Gerald Ford in 1976.
If you enjoy exploring history and heritage, check out these other celebrations:
- Irish American Heritage Month
- Scottish American Month
- Gathering of Nations
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
- African World Heritage Day
- Caribbean American Heritage Month
- Black Business Month
- Black Poetry Day
- Hispanic Heritage Month
- Polish American Heritage Month
- Native American Heritage Month
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