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The Story Behind Black History Month

Every year since 1976 we have designated February as Black History Month. Even though we celebrate all month long, most of us do not know how Black History Month came to be.

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

Black History Month was an outcome from “Negro History Week” which was started by Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. In 1915 Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The ASNLH now known as The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) was an organization focused on researching and promoting achievements by African Americans.

In 1926, the group sponsored a national Negro History Week. As the years went on mayors throughout the country began recognizing Negro History Week. Negro History Week became so popular that college campuses decided that wasn’t enough and created Black History Month.

By 1976 President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month and encouraged everyone to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, Black History Month has been recognized by every President and is prominent throughout the world.