Today in History

Black History Month

Author: Best Brains Feb 22, 2017

Black History Month, or National African American History Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom for achievements by African Americans and remembrance of important people and recognizing their central role in the history of the African Diaspora in U.S history.  It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February, and the United Kingdom in October.


Since 1976, every U.S. president has formally designated the month of February as Black History Month. While other countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and Canada also devotes a month to celebrate black history month.

The origin of Black History Month began in the year 1915, half a century after the 13th Amendment which abolished the slavery in the United States. In this month of September, the Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson and the legendary minister Jesse E. Moorland started the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to research and promotethe achievements by African Americans and other people of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. While this event encouragedthe schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations andfound history clubs and hostedvarious performances and lectures.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country begin issuing yearly proclamations to recognizethe Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, appreciation in part to the Civil Rights Movement and a risingconsciousness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. However, the President Gerald R. Ford has formally recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Native Americans in every area of attempt throughout our history."

Since then, every American president has chosen February as Black History Month and authorized a specific topic. The 2013 theme, At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, marks the 150th and 50th anniversaries of two pivotal events in African-American history.