Remembering the History of Black History Month

Nusaiba Mahmud, staff writer

Every February, America honors the many great accomplishments achieved by African Americans who have helped build the nation to what it is today.


“I believe it is extremely important to observe Black History Month,” former researcher and sessional lecturer at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, Dr. Nafeesa Jalal, said.  “Not only to celebrate their remarkable successes over the years, but also to recognize the inequities that still exist for this population.”


The history of Black History Month can be traced back to 1926. Dr. Carter G Woodson, who is also known as the “Father of Black History,” started Black History Week on the second week on February as a way for everyone to remember all the great contributions made by African Americans in America.


“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” Dr. Woodson wrote in his book, “The Mis-Education of the Negro”


He specifically chose the second week of February because it included both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s birthday.


In 1969 Kent State University expanded the one week to an entire month. In 1976, the US government officially recognized the month during Gerald Ford’s speech of the bicentennial celebration.


Dr. Woodson had one message that he wanted to convey, and that was to make sure every African American was proud of their heritage and other Americans knew their importance.


“While contributions from certain individuals are known- such as those of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and former president Barack Obama,” Dr. Jalal says, “little is known about real African American history which has existed for 400 years.”


Ninety-three years later today, Black History month is still well remembered and being recognized by more and more people each day.


“I am very grateful that African American people get an entire month,” sophomore Hailey Cruver said, “it’s great that people appreciate us for our accomplishments.”