Believe it or not, Black History Month is a relatively new concept. It came along because of Carter G. Woodson, a Black author and historian. Woodson received a Masters degree in history from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard according to Time. While in school and studying history, Woodson realized just how underrepresented Black people were when it came to the history that was being taught, so he decided to do something about it.
Back in 1915, Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland, an educator and minister, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History which is now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Years after this association was created, he and the organization launched the first “Negro History Week” that took place during the second week of December. “In 1926, Woodson and the ASALH launched a ‘Negro History Week’ to bring attention to his mission and help school systems coordinate their focus on the topic. Woodson chose the second week in February, as it encompassed both Frederick Douglass’ birthday on February 14 and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12,” reported Time.
Moving forward to 1976, President Gerald Ford made the decision to decree Black History Month a national holiday and we’ve been celebrating it ever since. So, know you know.
By Cierra Lemott, Freshman, Columbia College Chicago
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