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What is Black History Month?

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

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

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

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.

In 2022 President Biden officially proclaimed February as National Black History Month.

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

President Abraham Lincoln 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.

The 2023 theme: Black Resistance

African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression.

Nearly 179 years ago, the Rev. Henry Highland Garnett proposed that the only path to freedom, justice, equality; self-determination; and/or social transformation is resistance. Garnett shouted, "Let your motto be resistance! resistance! RESISTANCE!

By resisting, Black people have achieved triumphs, successes, and progress.

Black resistance strategies have served as a model for every other social movement in the country. To be clear, Resistance does not necessarily mean violence. The resistance can be armed by education, literature, sports, media, art, and legislation/politics.

“We must learn that passively to accept an unjust system is to cooperate with that system, and thereby to become a participant in its evil.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

My dream is simple, that we all get along and live as one nation together - Stop the fighting and the hate, educate yourself, and support others that differ from you.

Check out other themes throughout the past 96 years.

Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln
Black History Month


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