Since the late 19th century, African Americans and others of the African diaspora have recognized February as a time to celebrate their history. “Negro History Week”, the precursor to Black History Month, was started in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, historian and Dean at Howard University. Woodson hoped to popularize the teaching of African-American history in schools in the United States; the second week of February was chosen because of its proximity to the birthdates of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, important figures in the fight to end slavery in the United States.
In 1969 educators and students at Kent State University campaigned for the whole of February to be recognized as Black History Month; the following year the first Black History Month was celebrated. Black History Month has since been recognized around the world as a time to celebrate the African diaspora, people and history.
Explore our materials relating to Black History in the United States at the links below.