Celebrate Black History Month, Photo Credits harlemcondolife.com
Black history is more than a month. Black history is made every month. There is hardly a day that goes by when some black person does not make history.
Prior to 1927, there was not any observance of black history, nor of the accomplishments of black people. There had always been historical markers made by black people that changed the course of human history. Those events were usually whitewashed leaving the public to think that only white people had contributed to the development of civilization.
As a result of the absence of recognition, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a historian, began to observe the second week in the month of February, as Negro History Week. Since the American society was segregated in those days, Negro History Week, as it was called then, did not create a stir in the white community. Outside of the Negro community, few knew that the observance was taking place.
My mom is a big proponent of Negro History. She made sure there were books and pamphlets around the house that talked about the achievements of Negroes. Sometime around the 30th anniversary of Woodson’s inaugural observance, I participated in my first Negro History Week assembly program in elementary school. I was called upon to portray George Washington Carver.
Fifteen years later, I was a student at Tuskegee Institute. I found a learning haven during lunchtime at the George Washington Carver Museum. Daily, I marveled at Carver’s genius.
In 1970, there was a push by black students at Kent State University to observe Negro history for a month rather than the traditional week that Woodson set up. Also, there was a push to change the name to Black History. This push was fueled by the militancy of the emerging Black Power movement of the late 1960s led by Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure) and Charles V. Hamilton.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson started the observance of Black History to fill a void in the historical narrative of America.