Why Was February Chosen For Black History Month ?
A famous historian, Carter Godwin Woodson is the Founder of the Negro History Week. It was established to celebrate and recognize the immense contributions of the African Americans to the society and culture of America. He chose February 1926 for celebrating the same.
Woodson earned his Doctorate degree in History from Harvard University. He later on became the Dean in Howard University. He worked tirelessly to highlight the works of several African Americans who were neglected in history books. He wrote several books and even published the Journal of Negro History in 1916.
He was also one of the founders of Association of Negro Life and History or ANLH. Later on, this was renamed as The Association for the Study of African American Life or ASALH. He was an active member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity that came up with the idea of celebrating the Negro History and Literature Week in the year 1921. The Negro History week was celebrated in the year 1926. However, in 1976, along with America’s bicentennial celebrations, the ASALH extended the celebrations for an entire month of February. This became known as Black History Month from then on.
February was specifically chosen for various reasons. Firstly, Woodson wanted to pay tribute to two great men Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass born in February. These men changed the fortunes of blacks in America and brought about several reforms to give blacks equal status as their white counterparts. While Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that allowed slaves to be free members of the society, Douglass was a renowned orator and journalist who spent his life trying to highlight the contributions of blacks to the society.
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