February has been acknowledged as Black Historical past Month by each US president since Gerald Ford in 1976. With these 28 (or 29) days comes a celebration of Blackness, paired with reflection on the struggles for justice which have plagued Black communities since this nation was based virtually 250 years in the past. College lunchrooms provide Black-history-themed meals, streaming providers debut their “celebrating Black tales” collections, firms roll out special-edition strains devoted to Black customers, and your Black buddies stroll with a bit of further pep of their step.
However why? Why was the month marked by pink hearts and tacky Hallmark playing cards chosen to have a good time the infinite contributions Black People have made to society? Here is a short historical past.
Why Is Black Historical past Month Celebrated in February?
First, you need to know the person behind the month. Championed because the “Father of Black Historical past,” Carter G. Woodson based the Association For the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) in 1915 to advocate for the beforehand uncared for examine of Black life past the preconceived notions of white America. At Woodson’s urging, the fraternity brothers of Omega Psi Phi created Negro History and Literature Week in 1924.
Two years later, throughout the month of February, Woodson and the ASNLH launched the primary Negro Historical past Week, with the aim of bringing larger consideration to the examine of African American historical past as a complete, versus solely literature.
Whereas many imagine February was chosen to have a good time Black historical past as a result of it is the shortest month of the 12 months, the date Woodson chosen for Negro Historical past Week held particular significance. The second week of February coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Throughout this week, Black People celebrated Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and Douglass’s work as an abolitionist and advocate for civil rights, and Woodson aimed to increase this celebration to the numerous contributions Black individuals had made to society.
By the late Nineteen Sixties, many had already expanded Negro Historical past Week right into a month-long celebration of Black accomplishments. So, in 1976, the ASNLH — now generally known as the Affiliation For the Research of African American Life and Historical past (ASALH) — facilitated the widespread celebration of Black Historical past Month and, with the endorsement of President Ford, it grew to become a staple of American tradition.
Ford urged the general public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in each space of endeavor all through our historical past.” Black Historical past Month has been acknowledged by each American president since.
Every year, the month is coupled with a theme on which ASALH and different organizations prioritize analysis and schooling. This 12 months’s theme is The Black Family, which has been stereotyped and vilified by white People for the reason that starting of time.