Honor Black History

Honor Black History

by Sharet Espinal

The month of February is known for Valentine’s Day in many countries. However, the month of February in the United States more importantly commemorates Black History.

Honoring black history is attributed to Carter G. Woodson, the son of slaves who was educated late in his life. He was a historian dedicated to keeping and curating the history of African Americans in post-abolition America. Woodson was devoted to historical research, and to collecting artifacts and publications relevant to this often neglected part of American history. He also wanted for African Americans to be proud of their heritage and their history. In 1926, Woodson began a week long tradition to commemorate black history to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. He called it “Negro History Week.” From there, people started to refer to him as the “Father of Black History”.

To continue to reinforce Woodson’s efforts to honor African Americans’ legacy, history, and contributions to society, the observance was extended for a whole month from just one week. In 1986, it was designated by Congress the “National Black (Afro-American) History Month”.

Since its inception, the month serves to highlight the cultural contributions of African Americans, and serves as reminder of the plight of African slaves as they sought freedom, equality and opportunity after the abolition of slavery. Every year we honor the perseverance of African Americans, and accept the realization that we must continue the work to keep alive the importance of Black History.