Black History Month is celebrated in 3 ways

The “Father of Black History” Carter G. Woodson and the Rise of Black Studies: The Negro History Week Recalling a Time for Progress

By 1976, it became official, with President Gerald R. Ford declaring February as Black History Month and calling on the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Negro History Week was established in 1926 by the scholar Carter G. Woodson as he was referred to as the “Father of Black history”. According to the NAACP, Woodson was the second Black American after W.E.B. du Bois to earn a doctorate from Harvard University and he wanted people to know the largely overlooked achievements of Black people.

Woodson, the son of former enslaved people, famously said: “If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”

The teaching of Black history in the country was suppressed after World War I because of racial violence that erupted after the Civil War.

At the university level, Black studies programs were almost nonexistent, he says. In 1951, California was the first state to mandate Black History in the public schools.

Largely as a result of the civil rights and Black consciousness movements of the 1960s, “you saw an uptick in Black history courses,” says LaGarrett King, an associate professor of social studies education at the University at Buffalo.

“The Chicago Defender, the Philadelphia Tribune, the Baltimore Afro-American … they all started to say that this is something we’re celebrating,” Hunter says.

King acknowledges that some people might interpret this year’s theme as politically provocative, but it shouldn’t be seen that way. Rather, it’s an effort to reframe the conversation about Black history around a theme of empowerment, he says.

People from around the country have voiced their protest to his actions. They claim that opposing AP African American Studies, the first time it has ever been offered, serves to make information about Black history and other similar fields harder to acquire precisely when it should be more accessible.

There are people who study Black history who begin talking about the benefits of having voting rights and allocating more resources to Black institutions. They begin to question an unjust racial status quo and seek progress. They begin to take control of a narrative that has too long been in the hands of a privileged few.

For many, recent events — the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, for example, and the ongoing controversy surrounding critical race theory, an academic framework stating that people who are white have benefited from ingrained racism in American institutions — look like a recurring pattern, he says.

Dulaney grew up in Ohio with no idea about the accomplishments of blacks in history.

We have to push that agenda again. Against those trying to stop the teaching of African American history and culture.

King thinks that the debate over critical race theory will be over soon. “My personal feeling is that they will find another politically manufactured outrage and move on to the next thing,” he says.

Editor’s Note: Jemar Tisby, PhD is the author of the books “The Color of Compromise” and “How to Fight Racism.” He wrote frequently at, and is a professor at Simmons College of Kentucky. He has his own ideas about what he thinks. Read more about the topic on CNN.

Political leaders decided in the 50’s that black history was so important to the national identity that they quadrupled the time they set aside for it.

Black history cannot be reduced to a set of historical tidbits posted on social media for 30 days. Black history is not a set of isolated facts but a complex and interwoven series of stories woven together in the tapestry of lives in this land. At its best, Black history is a way of thinking about ourselves and the world in a more inclusive and equitable manner.

Instantly, his perspective made sense to me. On the third Monday of January we observe MLK Day nationwide. It’s a tradition related to Black History and the Civil Rights movement. Each year, Enormous effort goes into planning the events for MLK Day.

Does it make sense to pause the remembrances that accompany MLK Day for two weeks until the start of Black History Month, or would it make more sense simply to continue to the movement of memory for an additional two weeks?

Cosby said that the end of the Black History Season may be the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The purpose is not to discuss Black death but to ponder the reasons and consequences of uncompromising demands on civil and human rights.

In a statement marking the occasion, Ford said, “In the Bicentennial year of our Independence, we can review with admiration the impressive contributions of black Americans to our national life and culture.”

Since then there have been more ideas about how to make race irrelevant in education. In late January he announced his plans for higher education that include required courses on Western Civilization and a desire to “eliminate all DEI [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] and CRT bureaucracies.”

Fannie Lou Hamer: The Rise of Civil Rights Movement in the Mississippi Sharecropping Community and a Contribution to the Foundation for the American Civil Rights Campaign

I found one of my heroes, Fannie Lou Hamer, due to scholars looking for people who don’t get much attention. Born in 1917, Hamer was the twentieth of twenty children in a Mississippi sharecropping family. She would likely have lived and died in obscurity—another of the anonymous poor—but in 1962 she heard a presentation about voting rights at her local church and became involved in civil rights activism. She testified at the Democratic National Convention and rose to national prominence.

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