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Black History Month and The Importance of Education

February 7, 2023

We often think of February as the month to celebrate and remember Black History in the United States, but it wasn’t always that way. This holiday was created by the historian Carter G. Woodson, who worked tirelessly to bring attention to African American history and contributions in the early 1900s.

Woodson's research and education paved the way for our current understanding of Black History Month - a time to honor and recognize the accomplishments of African Americans throughout history. CovLC will explore what led Carter G Woodson to create Black History Month and his important role in creating this important holiday.

Who was Carter G. Woodson?

Carter G. Woodson was an African American historian, author, and educator who is best known for his work in documenting the history of the African diaspora. He was born in Virginia in 1875 to formerly enslaved parents, and he went on to graduate from high school as valedictorian before earning degrees from both Berea College and the University of Chicago.

Woodson's most notable achievement came with the publication of his book The Negro History in 1915. This work was one of the first systematic efforts to document the lives and experiences of African Americans throughout history. It was also instrumental in helping to establish Black History Month, which is celebrated each year in February.

In addition to his work as a historian, Woodson was also a prolific writer and editor. He founded several organizations dedicated to promoting African American history and culture, including the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History and the Negro History Bulletin.

He spent his life working to ensure that the contributions of African Americans would not be forgotten or overlooked, and today he is widely recognized as one of the most important figures in early black history scholarship.

The Founding of Black History Month

In February of 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” This was done in order to encourage the teaching of black history in schools and universities as well as to promote awareness in the general public. The first celebration took place on February 12th, 1926, and was a huge success.

Due to the increasing importance of black history, by 1976 “Negro History Week” had evolved into “Black History Month.” President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month that year, urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Every president since has made a similar proclamation.

Black History Month is now an internationally recognized event, celebrated not just in America but also in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom. It is a time to reflect on the progress that has been made and look towards a future where everyone is truly equal regardless of skin color.
Woodson's impact on black history is significant and far-reaching. He is credited with helping to establish Black History Month, which is now celebrated annually in the United States and many other countries.

He also wrote prolifically on the subject of black history, helping to raise awareness of the contributions of African Americans to society. His work has inspired generations of scholars and activists to pursue studies and careers in black history and related fields.

How Black History Month is Celebrated Today

In February, America celebrates Black History Month. This month is a time to remember the achievements and accomplishments of African Americans throughout history. It is also a time to reflect on the struggles and challenges that black people have faced, and continue to face, in America.

Black History Month is celebrated in many different ways. Schools often have special events and lessons planned for the month. Libraries may host exhibits or film screenings related to black history. Museums may offer special tours or events focused on African American culture and history. And communities across the country will come together to celebrate black music, art, food, and more.

How you choose to celebrate Black History Month is up to you. But however, you choose to celebrate, take some time during the month to learn about and remember the important role that African Americans and education have played – and continue to play – in shaping our country’s history.

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