10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black History Month


"Carter G. Woodson" by dbking is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A mural in Washington, D.C honoring Carter G. Woodson, who was instrumental to the creation of Black History Month.

Charlotte McManus, Writer

As Black History Month comes to a close, it’s important to reflect on why it was created and how far it has come. Here are 10 facts about Black History Month that will inspire you to learn more. 

1. Its predecessor was “Negro History Week” created in 1926. It was celebrated in the second week of February because it coincided with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and Frederick Douglass’ birthday. 

2. Carter G. Woodson, a Black historian and writer, was instrumental in the creation of “Negro History Week.” Since then, he’s been called “the founder of Black history.”

3. It wasn’t until 1970 that Black History Month was celebrated for the first time at Kent State University in Ohio. Six years later, it took off as a national celebration.

4. The first President to recognize Black History Month was Gerald Ford, a member of the Republican party who served one term.

5. Black History Month is also celebrated in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland. In the UK and Ireland, it’s celebrated in October to commemorate the anniversary of Caribbean emancipation.

6. Black History Month is sometimes criticized as an out for educational institutions to not incorporate Black history into year-round curriculum, while others believe it should be celebrated along with this incorporation.

7. Though Black History Month is federally recognized for the awareness and education the celebration brings, there are no national standards for including Black history in public school curriculum.

8. The celebration of Black History Month has reached corporate America, which sparked a national conversation about turning Black History Month into an advertising opportunity. Ernest Owens, a journalist for The Washington Post, says “I find myself feeling more insulted than inspired by the way the same companies who deny both of my identities any other time of the year find it suddenly mandatory to suggest otherwise.”

9. Black History Month has also become a celebration of today’s Black culture, as well as a force for crediting all that Black culture has contributed to sports, music, food, and more. 

10. The website www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov, where many of the previous facts were drawn from, was founded in honor of Black History Month and contains a slew of resources for those who want to learn more.