The History behind Black History Month
The history of Black History Month, whose aim is to trumpet those whose achievements had gone unsung, date back in 1950, 50 years after the end of slavery, with the foundation of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History.
The founders, Historian Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jesse Moorland aimed to develop their idea, notably thanks to the members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, who created Negro Achievement Week in 1924. This cooperation led to sponsor a national Negro History Week in February 1926, on the second week of February, coinciding with the birthdates of two key figures for emancipation (Frederick Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln).
Then, in 1976, due to the reinvigorated focus on African-American history through black pride campaigns as the civil rights movement came to a close, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized the entire month of February as Black History Month.
This celebration also expanded well beyond the US: it was adopted in 1987 by the UK and in 1995 by Canada.
Nowadays, a hundred years after the beginning of this tradition, black millennials are reframing Woodson’s idea from highlighting black history to highlighting black futures.
“While Black History Month is concerned with making sure black people remain a part of our collective historical memory, Black Future Month focuses on black people’s dreams, breaking open how black people are envisioned in the futures we are creating.”
The overall point thus becomes to reinvent the possibilities of how black people around the world live their lives beyond the constraints of the contemporary moment, to picture what possibilities lie ahead.
To learn more, read here.
"Il devient absolument urgent de mettre un terme à cette injustice. Il y a un manque de connaissances et de recherches. Il faut donc promouvoir le recueil de témoignages, mais aussi construire des mémoriaux, organiser des expositions..." - @BenjaminAbtan