What is Black History Month and Why is it Important?
Black History Month (also known as African American History Month) is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history.
Celebrating Black History allows us to pause, acknowledge, and remember the sacrifice and suffering that Civil Rights and other Historic leaders endured for the sake of racial equality.
Educating those outside the black community was always a central focus of the celebration of Black History Month. The belief is that if the country understood the contributions and sacrifices made by black people who served in the military during the second world war, it would provide a powerful argument that would undermine the notions of black inferiority. Focusing on these contributions and sacrifices would serve to create an environment that was more conducive to combating racism.
8 things you should know about Black History Month
- The story of Black History Month began in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
- Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans.
- Negro History Week was celebrated in the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
- The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
- In the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.
- President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon 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 officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
- Every year there is a different theme that is endorsed by the US President. 2020’s theme is, “African Americans and the Vote,” is in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote.
Black History Month Celebration 2020 Award Awards to New Jersey African American Individuals in Eligible Regions for Contributions to the Community. Awards are intended to honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the areas of professional achievements, general good deeds, or community service that have impacted favorably on the citizens of Gloucester Township.