Black History Month is commemorated every February in the United States and Canada. Have you ever wondered why February? In 1926, a group led by Harvard-educated African American historian Carter G. Woodson chose the second week in February as “Negro History Week,” devoted to heightening awareness of Black history in the United States. Celebrations in Canada started shortly thereafter. The week was symbolic in that it was the same week of the birthdays of former President Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and prominent abolitionist movement activist Frederick Douglass (February 14). In the late 1960s, the week evolved into an entire month, thanks in large part to the Civil Rights movement.
We’ve compiled some additional resources to learn more about and celebrate Black history:
- The History Channel’s website has great information about the origins of Black History Month.
- The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) – the group founded by Woodson – recommends a Black History Month theme each year. The 2021 theme is: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.
- The Government of Canada has interesting information about Black history in Canada.
- The New York Times outlined ways to honor and learn about Black History.
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