The Story of Black History Month


Photo taken by Marina Shemesh, shared through public domain

Jadyn Hellenbrand , Reporter

February is Black History Month, but what does that mean? Black History Month celebrates the accomplishments and the significant role African Americans played in building U.S. history. This month-long celebration started as a national week in 1926, not changing to “Black History Month” until 1976.

Why February? The average assumption of why this is is that something dramatic happened this month. However, it takes place in February to honor Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, as their birthdates occur in the second month of the year. Abraham Lincoln is known as the 16th president of the United States and the man who issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed enslaved people. Douglas was a man who escaped American slavery in 1838. He became a noticeable speaker and writer. These people are huge influences on the history of the United States and should be reasonably recognized.

Should all Americans recognize this month? This question causes many controversies, but a more straightforward question would be: “Should all schools mention Black History Month?” The answer is a straight yes. It does not have to be vast and extraordinary but a simple recognition for the international celebration. Black history is celebrated in the States and worldwide at different times. Instead of celebrating in February, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the U.K. celebrate in October.

There are endless amounts of exciting facts that not everybody knows. For example, the United States has a different theme for Black History Month every year. This year, it is “Black Resistance.” A few more interesting facts related to Black History Month are that the first public high school for African Americans opened in 1870, and a Black jazz singer inspired the Betty Boop many people know and love. Claudette Colvin (15) refused to give up her seat before Rosa Parks did.

If chosen, there are many ways to celebrate this month, such as supporting local black-owned businesses, donating to anti-racism charities like the Black Youth Project, and possibly showing some love to black authors by purchasing or sharing their books. Small contributions of these kinds significantly impact the lives of so many people.

Black History Month can be a touchy subject for people, but it is still a topic to be recognized annually.