At present it is a nationally celebrated event and there are many people, both Black and White, that join in, but it hasn’t always been that way.
Black American history was not always included as part of America’s history, and when it was, it was often only as a comical or satirical element.
In 1915, Dr. Carter Woodson, a Black historian, founded Negro History Week; then The Journal of Negro History in 1916, and later on, Black History Month. He spent his entire life educating people about the contributions made by Blacks.
Blacks have been in America since colonial times, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that recognition was given to their works or contributions to history. The reason February was chosen as Black History Month was to honor both Fredrick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.
However, February is significant throughout Black history as we have many notable acts and notable Black Americans that have contributed to Black successes.
Significant dates are: February 1, 1960, Black college students in Greensborough, N.C. held a sit-in at F.W. Woolworths in protest of the racist actions of that company; February 3, 1870, the 15th Amendment was passed allowing Blacks to vote; February 12, 1909, the NAACP was formed; February 21, 1965, Malcolm X of the Black American Muslim Party, was assassinated; February 23, 1868, W.E.B. DuBois was born.
The actions of these people helped Blacks, but their actions were also related to human rights. Black History Month was formed to acknowledge the contributions of Blacks in society, but it also is a means of celebration for who we are and what our place in American history is.
Today we are all aware of the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. as he met the force of violence with the force of peace with the thought that all men are created equal and that as a rite of passage all men (and women) have the right to live.
As we look further back at Black history, you have to wonder how it is that Harriet Tubman and Hiram Revels, who was the first Black Senator, were not acknowledged in history books prior to recent times for their accomplishments. Slavery was a black mark for all Americans and these two people were at the forefront of civil rights. From Blacks to go from bondage in slavery to being a U.S.President should make all Black people proud of their heritage, while also giving them a higher level
of self-esteem; yes, we have come a long way, yet we have much further still to go.