February is Black History Month, a great opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of African Americans throughout U.S. history.

Since 1976, this annual celebration has recognized the contributions of black Americans to our country.

It Started as a Week.
In 1915, Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse Moorland founded what’s now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. That organization established Negro History Week in 1926, which strived to inspire schools and communities to organize local celebrations and host performances and lectures.

Carter Woodson: The Father of Black History.
Woodson was tireless in his lobbying to establish Negro History Week as a program to encourage the study of African-American history. He dedicated his career to the subject and wrote many books on the topic. His most famous volume is The Mis-Education of the Negro (1933), which has become required reading at numerous colleges and universities.

February Was Chosen for a Reason.
Negro History Week was the second week of February. Why? To coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. President Lincoln, of course, was the 16th U.S. president and paved the way for the abolition of slavery with his Emancipation Proclamation. Douglass was an escaped slave turned activist and author and a prominent leader in the abolitionist movement to end slavery.

A Week Becomes a Month.
The civil rights movement of the 1960s helped elevate Negro History Week to national prominence… and turn it into a month-long celebration. As a result, in 1976, President Gerald Ford made things official, proclaiming February to be Black History Month.

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