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10 things for you know about Black History month

Here’s what you might not know about Black History Month, in 3 minutes or less.

This month is Black History Month. It’s actually the 95th celebration, depending on how you count. Yes, that’s what I said, nearly 100 years of celebrating Black history.

And yet...what’s your knowledge base of Black women and men of historical note? In addition to women's contribution to history that I learned nothing about, I learned very little about Black history in school. My exposure was limited to oh, maybe Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and George Washington Carver. And I’m not entirely clear that I learned about them in school. So, I got a little curious about how Black History month came to be, and I was surprised to learn that it started so early - its inception was in the roaring 20s! I thought you might be interested too.

This blog post is dedicated to the who, what, and why of Black History month, and ways you might observe over the course of the month. I think you will agree that 2021 is truly the year for us all to get on board with Black History.

  1. In 1915, just fifty years after slavery was abolished, Carter G. Woodson, a Black, Harvard trained historian first had the idea for a Negro History Week to honor the historical contributions and achievements of people of African ancestry. It’s worth noting that Woodson was born to freed enslaved people. This was a man of vision.

  2. In 1926, the first Negro History Week is celebrated. And the response from scholars, schools and students is enthusiastic. 1926! So, that great idea took over 10 years.

  3. Fun Fact, why February? In 1926, the second week in February was chosen to celebrate “Negro History Week” because President Lincoln’s birthday and Frederick Douglass’ accepted birthday both occur that week.

  4. In North America, we honor Black History month in February, but, did you know that it’s also celebrated in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom? In those countries, it’s celebrated in October.

  5. In 1976, President Ford expanded the celebration from one week to one month. Fifty years after the first Negro History Week, we celebrated the first African American History Month. While I remember this, because I was a junior in high school, I think educators were caught flatfooted. I don’t recall a giant change in the curriculum. Shocking.