The Story Behind Black History Month

SOUTHERN MARYLAND – The United States celebrates and honors the contributions, sacrifices, and struggles of African Americans who have helped build this country every February.

Black History Month is important to this country because it reminds the country of how far we honor the sacrifices of African Americans and how much further we need to go.

“Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is separate from our collective American history or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of the greatest hits from the March on Washington or from some of our sports heroes,” Barack Obama said in a statement.

But, here is the story behind Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson, who was dubbed the father of black history, designated a time to promote and educate people about black history and culture. Woodson envisioned a weeklong celebration in the second week of February.

Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH) designated the second week of February as Negro History Week in 1915. This week was chosen because it coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass.

Since being established, the ASALH Black History Month has had a new theme every year, following Woodson’s tradition for Negro History Week. This year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness since it honors the healthcare providers on the frontline of the pandemic. For those who do not know, some studies have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected minority groups and Black health care, professionals.

“As [Black people], we have terrible health outcomes, and even the coronavirus has been affecting us disproportionately in terms of those of us who are catching it,” Dr. W. Martin Dulaney, President of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, said.

Although many will argue that Black History should be celebrated year-round, everyone has to remember that this celebration has grown from a week to a month. As time goes on, there is no telling how much we will celebrate h Black history and culture in the future, but for now, let’s all take the time to honor the purpose of this month.

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