Black History Month

Recognizing its origin and the reasons it’s celebrated

Marley Franklin, Event Coordinator

Black History Month is a time to celebrate inspirational leaders and movements that changed the nation.

The many years of oppression and people who have fought for the rights that African Americans have today do not go unrecognized. Some of the most famous activists celebrated are Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. due to their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

Black History Month began in 1926 with the help of Carter G. Woodson and was originally called  “Negro History Week.” Woodson was a part of the ‘Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.’  According to Julia Zorthian from Times.

Black History Month is also recognized in Canada, the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands. It’s celebrated in February because it correlates to the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln — two important figures who were passionate to end slavery and receive equality for African Americans. The NAACP race riots and peaceful protests were mostly organized in the month of February as well. These efforts would raise awareness of inequality.

The oppression that inspired people to act for change includes the segregation in restrooms, restaurants, water fountains, schools, etc.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott is one of the most recognizable protests in black history. The boycott was set in place to get African Americans to be able to sit where they want, an event leading to more progress towards equality for African Americans.

Another important event in black history is the desegregation of schools. Ruby Bridges was the first African American to desegregate a school in 1954.  

Understanding why Black History Month is celebrated is crucial to the American culture. It’s reference to the oppression that existed, and those brave enough to fight it. It allows others to learn about the important leaders and movements that occurred not only in the black community, but across the nation. It impacts our generation today by reminding the youth of the struggles to get where we are today. This celebration raises awareness and gives credit to those who benefited our society.