In 1926, Carter G. Woodson started “Negro History Week” the second week of February because it encompassed both Frederick Douglass’ birthday on February 14 and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th.
Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. It was that year of 1976 in which President Gerald Fold told the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
As we flip our calendars to February for 2018, this year’s theme is “African Americans in Times of War,” which marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The theme hones in and honors the service and effort that Black Americans have played during times of war, starting in the American Revolution and continuing to present day.
Black History month gives us, as Americans, a chance to look back and reflect on the historical and cultural significance that African Americans have had on this country. A chance for incredible stories that were far too long overlooked to be highlighted. As Woodson declared the need for studying black history, he stated, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”
His poignant claims offer a sobering reminder of why Black History Month remains such a vital time in the year. So as you go about your month, make sure you take time to remember and learn about the fascinating/heroic accomplishments that African Americans have done. The importance of history is far too remarkable to be forgotten about.