Black History Month - remembering legacies
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery in the United States. That amounted to approximately four million people who faced a lot of uncertainty. Although slavery had been outlawed, many African Americans had no where to go and could not obtain jobs for a fair wage. Many were left working for the same plantations.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in February, 1909, 100 years after the birth of Abraham Lincoln. 50 years after then end of slavery, historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). This organization was founded in order to find and promote achievements by Black and African Americans. Today, this organization is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).
ASNLH sponsored a national Negro History Week for the first time in 1926. The second week in February was chosen in order to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass; both of those dates were honored by the Black community. It was hoped that during this week, schools and communities would hold celebrations and study the history of black people and their accomplishments.
Negro History Week gained popularity over the decades. Black History Month was first proposed in February 1969 by the organization Black United Students at Kent State University, and the first celebration took place the following year from Jan. 2 1970 to Feb. 28, 1970. By 1976, Black History Month was being celebrated all across the country and was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford. President Ford urges the country to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then, the month of February has been known as Black History Month.
Other countries in the world also celebrate Black History Month. It was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987, and this celebration was organized by Akyaaba Addai-sebo, who is from Ghana, and who served as a coordinator of special projects for the Greater London Council. In Canada, Black
History Month was first celebrated in 1995, but it did not become officially recognized by the Senate until 2008. In the late 19th century, Cork, in the Republic of Ireland, was a leader in the abolitionist movement. Ireland began recognizing Black History Month in 2010.
The theme for 2020 Black History Month is, “African Americans and the Vote”. 2020 is the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment which granted black men the right to vote. It is also 100 years since the passing of the 19th Amendment, which granted the right to vote to women. It is encouraged for everyone to register and make your voice heard through your vote.