What is Black History Month?

Updated: Jun 5

Black History Week started on February 7, 1926, to celebrate achievements by African Americans and recognize their central role in U.S. history. Carter G. Woodson, a noted Harvard-trained historian, and other prominent African Americans created this momentous occasion.

In 1969, Kent State University Black Student Union hosted the first month-long celebration.

In 1976, President Ford officially recognized Black History Month during the country's bicentennial.

This year President Biden officially proclaimed February as National Black History Month.

The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of two men who were instrumental in helping abolish slavery:

President Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.


Frederick Douglas, a former slave who became a prominent activist, author, public speaker, and abolitionist. He continued to strive for equality and human rights until he died in 1895.

His works and fight have gone on and served as an inspiration to the civil rights movement of the 1960 and beyond.

When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week, he realized the importance of providing a theme as a focus for the public to bring attention to important developments that merit emphasis.

The 2022 theme: "Black Health, and Wellness", explores the legacy of Black scholars, medical practitioners, and people in health-related fields. This theme considers activities, rituals, and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.

Check out other themes throughout the past 96 years.

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots."

Marcus Garvey

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