It’s a new month and of course a special month for us, Black people because it is Black History Month. Therefore we’re starting a new series exclusive for the month of February where I’ll basically be celebrating my people 😌
Today, I’ll do a short intro into the series by telling you more about Black History Month and how it came to be.
Black History Month aka African American History Month was formerly, Negro History Week. It began in 1926 when the historian, Carter G. Woodson (father of Black History) chose the the second week of February to be the Negro History Week. He proposed marking a time to honour African Americans and raise awareness of Black history.
“Woodson’s goal from the very beginning was to make the celebration of Black history in the field of history a ‘serious area of study,’ ” said Albert Broussard, a professor of Afro-American history at Texas A&M University.
This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (the US president who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863) on February 12 and Frederick Douglass (an African American orator, social reformer, writer and abolitionist) on February 14, both of which dates Black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century.
The essence of this month is to recognise and honour the contributions and achievements of the country’s Black populations and their role in US history. It honours the contribution and legacy of activists, politicians and civil rights pioneers, including Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, among many others.
“Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of greatest hits from the March on Washington or from some of our sports heroes,” Barack Obama, the first Black president of the US said.
“It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America,” he continued.
(Click here to read full speech)
In the UK, Black History Month was first celebrated in London in 1987, as part of African Jubilee Year. On October 1, Dr Maulana Karenga from the US was invited to an event at County Hall to mark the contributions of Black people throughout history, and Addai-Sebo drew up a plan to recognise the contributions of African, Asian and Caribbean people to the economic, cultural and political life in the UK, with other boroughs beginning formally to institute October as Black History Month in the UK.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post!
Did you know about Black History month? If you’re Black, in what way do you plan on celebrating? Can you guess what ideas I have for the rest of these series?