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Black History Month Then and Now

Black History Month Banner featuring Black change makers

Black History Month is an annual celebration of African American accomplishments and achievements. Black History Month began as a week-long celebration known as “Negro History Week”. It is now a month-long celebration recognized by every U.S. President since 1976.

What are the origins of Black History Month? Who founded Black History Month?

 In 1915, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). It is known today as the Association of the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The organization is dedicated to the research and promotion of Black American achievements. In 1926, the organization sponsored a national Negro History Week in February.

Why is Black History Month in February?

The month of February was chosen for Negro History Week to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and Fredrick Douglass (celebrated on February 14th).

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Carter G. Woodson memorial on RI Ave at 7th NW in Washington, D.C. (Photo/ Creative Commons)

When did the celebration of Black History Month begin?

During the late 1960s, Black History Week was celebrated as a month-long celebration (Black History Month) on many college campuses. 

Which President recognized Black History Month? What year did Black History Month start?

In 1976, Black History Month was officially recognized as an annual celebration by President Gerald Ford. He promoted this new celebration by calling the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since 1976, every U.S. President has endorsed a theme for Black History Month. 

What is the Black History Month 2024 theme?

The Black History Month theme for 2024 is “African Americans and the Arts”. The theme focuses on the historical impact and influence African Americans have made on visual arts, music, and cultural movements.

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