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All You Need to Know About the Black History Month

Shalu Bhatti Feb 1, 2019
Wouldn't it be great to know the history of this historical month and prepare yourself well in advance about what it signifies? Read on to know how and why the National African-American History Month started. It will help you realize its importance all the more!
"Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise." - Maya Angelou, from Still I Rise.

When Is Black History Month?

Black History Month is also known as the African-American History Month. It is celebrated all over the United States of America and Canada in the month of February. Although, in the United Kingdom, it is celebrated in October!
It is the time wherein each and every school and university will be conducting various activities to make this generation aware of the importance that African-American history holds in the nation.

Who Started Black History Month?

Black History Month was first started by a well-known African-American historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, in the year 1926. February was decided as the month to celebrate the African-American history because it was the birthday month of two of the most notable and highly valued people among the African-Americans.
These two people were, President Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves; and Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist; who was also the first vice-presidential nominee among African-Americans!
Initially, Black History Month was known as the 'Negro History Week'. This was Dr. Woodson's attempt to encourage awareness among citizens about the contribution of African-Americans towards the building of the nation.
It was only in the early 1970s that the name 'Negro history week' changed to 'Black History Week'. And later, in the year 1976, the entire month of February was declared as the National African-American History Month, or the Black History Month!
Every year, National African-American History Month is celebrated by conducting many activities and implementing various ideas and themes for the younger generation.

Theme of 2017

The year of 2017 had the theme of “The Crisis in Black Education”.
ASALH founder Dr. Carter G. Woodson said,
The mere imparting of information is not education.
He knew how the paucity of education can lead humanity to its doom and how essential it was to black people in the past. Denial of education should not be something that should be encouraged, but it should be exterminated at first sight.

That's why The Black Month of 2017 was celebrated with the theme of the crisis of Black Education.

Theme of 2018

In the year 2018, the theme for The Black Month was African Americans in Times of War. The history books are filled with the endeavor, fortitude and fight of the black people. So, we'll take a look at those chapters and honor those heroes who helped to make this world a better place.
Schools can encourage children to do some projects or assignments which will give them an opportunity to learn how African-Americans contributed in various wars.

Theme of 2019

The theme of Black History Month for the year 2019 is ‘Black Migration’. This theme talks more about the migration or relocation of the African people to new locations that are more industrialized.
The relocation resulted in emergence of new music forms such as blues, ragtime and jazz. This theme mainly focuses on the recent years or the twentieth centuary and we shall take a look at this migrations and its consequences.

Ideas for Schools

The student can be asked to surf the internet or libraries to find more about their ancestors and their contribution in wars. An essay on who are their favorite African-American war heroes and why, would help the kids understand their contribution in a much better way!
Senior classes may be asked to prepare a skit based on the theme, or, there could be a dress code based on the way some of the well-known African-Americans dressed back then. This would give them a chance to live like them, even if it's only for a few hours!


"I don't want a Black History Month. Black history is American history."
-Morgan Freeman

This month is often criticized as racist. Some believe that the reason our ancestors started this month is lost over the ages and it should not be celebrated for only one month, but students should learn it throughout the year.
Many people also say that differentiating African-American history from American history promotes the idea that African-Americans are not fully Americans!
So, now that you know when Black History Month is, and why it is celebrated, how are you celebrating it this year?