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. In addition, the month recognizes the central role of Black Americans in history.
Other countries, including Canada and Great Britain, have also set aside months to honor Black History. February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and noted civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass. A privateer ship named the White Lion records the first Africans brought to the colonies in 1619. Captained by John Colyn Jope, the White Lion landed at Point Comfort, Virginia, now modern-day Hampton, Virginia. There, Jope traded the Africans as slaves in exchange for provisions.
Notable Black Americans
African-Americans impacted our society throughout history and in numerous ways.
- Thurgood Marshall – The jurist was the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court. We recognize Thurgood Marshall every year on National Maryland Day.
- George Washington Carver – As a man of science, Carver developed over 300 products from peanuts. Celebrate George Washington Carver and his contributions to the peanut industry on National Peanut Day.
- Shirley Chisholm – In 1968, New York’s 12th congressional district elected Chisholm as the first Black woman in Congress. She served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Rosa Parks – The Civil Rights advocate helped initiate the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Celebrate Rosa Park on Rosa Parks Day and learn more about her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
- Louis Armstrong – As a talented musician and performer, Armstrong became a pioneer in jazz. Satchmo Summerfest honors his contributions to music for a week each year in August.
- Colin Powell – The 4-star General became Secretary of State. Colin Powell dedicated the Buffalo Soldier Monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, establishing the first Buffalo Soldiers Day.
- Barack Obama – Americans elected Obama as the first Black President of the United States in 2009. He served two terms.
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
Carter Woodson, the twentieth-century historian, created Black History Month. He believed Black Americans were not adequately represented in the study of American history. Carter Woodson also hoped for the day when Americans would accept Black history as a part of American history. President Gerald Ford declared Black History Month (formerly Negro History Week) 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