I decided to wrap-up this years’ little known black history facts, with the question, “Why BHM, at all?”
You’re probably thinking, this topic is suited for foundational knowledge, at the beginning of this journey – I thought so too! But it wasn’t until I was well into the month, that I personally learned more details of how BHM came about.
BHM began in 1926 as Negro History Week. Dr. Carter G. Woodson — an African American historian who graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D. — founded Negro History Week to highlight the history, lives, and contributions of Black Americans to American society.
The observance takes place in February for good reason. Woodson wanted to honor President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, for obvious reasons, who were both born in February. For years, the running joke was it was because February is the shortest month of the year.
In addition to Woodson, many civil rights activists and protestors including Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Mary White Ovington, and Martin Luther King Jr., worked to make the observance official.
Though it began as just a week-long celebration in 1926, President Ford encouraged Americans to start celebrating Black History for the entire month of February in 1976.
With the first observances of BHM in
the late 1970s, there’s still so much to learn about the achievements and contributions of Black Americans. BHM also provides an opportunity to reflect on the past and use prior lessons to imagine and work toward a better future.
We all look forward to the day when BHM will no longer be necessary. Unfortunately, current events suggest that time has yet to come.
Thanks for the engagement, your time, & attention F&F. ❤️🙏🏽
*BHM is now recognized in Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.