Remembering Black History
Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Barack Obama, Rosa Parks, Beyonce, Louis Armstrong, Kendrick Lamar – these are just some of the few well-known African-Americans whose social, political, and economic contributions have impacted not just the United States, but the entire world. Over a century ago, African-Americans weren’t celebrated and recognized this way before. Back then, it was assumed that African-Americans had little to no history at all besides slavery.
Who changed it?
And then came Carter Woodson. Carter Woodson (born December 19, 1875 – died April 3, 1950) was an African-American historian, author, and journalist who saw the need for research into the neglected African-American past. His education from the University of Chicago and Harvard University convinced him that the history of African-Americans and other cultures were being ignored or misrepresented in American history. He wasn’t the only one who noticed this. On September 9, 1915, Woodson and his peers founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH) in Chicago.
The Association is dedicated to the promotion, research, preservation, interpretation, and information dissemination of Black life, history, and culture to the global community. It created avenues for African-American scholars to do research and publication such as the Journal of Negro History and the Negro History Bulletin. Both of which garnered popular appeal.
How did Black History Month Happen?
It started out when the ASALH and Carter Woodson announced the 2nd week of February as “Negro History Week”. This week was picked because it fell on the birthdays of two of the most iconic figures in African-American history – Abraham Lincoln (February 12) who issued the Emancipation Proclamation and Frederick Douglass (February 14) who was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, author, orator, and statesman.
In 1976, the celebration expanded into the entire month of February. Now, Black History Month has support from all over the country as Americans with varying ethnic and social backgrounds have conversations about the black experience. The ASALH sees this elevation as one of the most important keys in furthering Woodson’s legacy.
Black History 2019: Black Migrations
This year opens with the theme “Black Migrations.” The ASALH believes that migration represents one of the most important aspects of America’s past. It seeks to educate America and the global community about the arrival of Africans in the Virginia Colony. It shows the story of the resilience of the African-American family, their contributions to America, and most of all, African-American perseverance over four centuries.
This month, spend time with your child and remember the African-American people and their contribution to society. Whether it’s watching Push or reading a poem by Langston Hughes, their achievements and hardships have endured throughout the years. Do you have activities to celebrate Black History month you’d like to share? Share it with us and comment below!