5 Things You Didn't Know About Black History Month
February 1st officially kicks off Black History Month, an elevated time of year to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and recognize their contributions throughout U.S. history. It’s also a time to honor the visionaries, pay tribute to the pioneers, and highlight the next generation of change makers that are impacting Black culture and society as a whole.
Though February is when Black History Month is acknowledged, Black legacy, heritage, and pride should be celebrated 24/7/365 and at Corage Dolls we love doing that everyday. With that said, we did some in-depth research to provide a few facts about Black History Month that maybe many aren’t as familiar with. Yes, Dr. Carter G. Woodson was the creator of Negro History Week (the predecessor to Black History Month), but did you know that Black History Month is celebrated in October in at least 2 countries?? Do you know which ones??
Well check out the rest of the blog below to learn more about 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Black History Month and if you find it educational, go ahead and share the blog with your friends and families!
Let’s begin, shall we!
- Every U.S. president decides on a specific theme for Black History Month.
According to History, this has been done since 1976 and this year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness explores the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in the Western sense, but throughout the African Diaspora.
- In 1970, Kent State University began observance of Black History Month, 6 years before President Ford designated the month of February as Black History Month.
Created by the school’s Black United Students org aka BUS the month-long celebration as we know it is owed to Kent State’s BUS members of 1969. Although BUS took part in celebrating Negro History Week, the group strongly believed Black history couldn’t and shouldn’t be contained to a single week. In February 1969, student leaders of BUS along with support from faculty and the greater Black community, suggested turning Negro History Week into a month-long celebration of Black people and their culture.
- Outside the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the Republic of Ireland also celebrate Black History Month, but not all countries celebrate in February.
The UK and the Republic of Ireland celebrate the month in October.
- Black History Month was first celebrated in October 1987 in the UK, on the 150th anniversary of the Caribbean emancipation. It was organized by Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo.
Disturbed in the mid-1980s by the identity crisis that Black children faced as some brazenly would not identify with Africa and shrank when called an African or wanting to be white, Akyaaba Addai-Sebo conducted research to understand why there was such a disdain for being tied to one’s African heritage despite the Race Awareness campaigns of the Greater London Council (GLC) and the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA). Akyaaba realized more had to be done and so he conceived an annual celebration of the contributions of Africa, Africans and people of African descent to world civilization from antiquity to the present, garnering a lot of support from leaders and partners.
- Back when it was Negro History Week, the second week of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
Inspired by having attended a three-week national celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation in 1915, Carter G. Woodson joined four others in founding the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) to encourage scholars to engage in the intensive study of the Black past, a subject that had long been sorely neglected by academia and in U.S. schools. In 1916 Woodson began editing the association’s principal scholarly publication, The Journal of Negro History. In 1924, spurred on by Woodson, his college fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, introduced Negro History and Literature Week. Two years later, determined to bring greater attention to African American history, Woodson and the ASNLH launched Negro History Week in February 1926.
Well there you have it. Did you know all 5 facts? Did any of these facts surprise you? Black Americans have contributed such great richness to our history and these are just a few of their stories. So explore these links with your families, encourage discussions about these pioneers, and continue to educate our children to learn more about equality, justice, and having cultural pride. This is why representation matters 💜.
Flora Ekpe-Idang, Founder | CEO