The Purpose of Black History Month


The story of Black History month started in 1915–a century after the 13th amendment abolished slavery. A Harvard historian named Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, an organization dedicated to researching and promoting the achievements of Black Americans.

Every February, Black History Month serves as a celebration and powerful reminder of Black history. Black culture is a part of American Culture. The struggles and joys of black stories are essential to the ongoing history of America. Black history today is important to understanding ourselves and growing as a nation.

Across generations and centuries, several Black Americans demonstrated a lot of courage to shape our Nation for the better. “Today, Black Americans lead industries and movements for change, serve our communities and our Nation at every level, and advance every field across the board, including arts and sciences, business and law, health and education, and many more.”

In 1926, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) sponsored a national Negro History week, the second week of February. This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas.

“The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures.” Although Black History Month was celebrated in smaller recognition for decades after 1915, it was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976.

Ford expressed that the accomplishments of Black Americans are too often overlooked in the U.S. After this point, every following U.S. president recognized February as Black History Month. Countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom also adopted Black History Month. It wasn’t until 1986 that Congress passed Public Law 99-244, which established February as “National Black (Afro-American) History Month.”