Black History Month


Elena Sunagatova

Black History Month. African American History. Celebrated annual. In February in United States and Canada. Poster, card, banner, background. Vector illustration

The month of February holds a special place in the hearts of many as Black history month. The celebration of this month came about during the later 1920’s in hopes of highlighting black achievement. According to the article, Black History Month 2022: Facts, Origins & More, “Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.” Both birthdays symbolize the figures in history that radically shaped how black people live today. 

However, it wasn’t until almost 50 years later that it would be officially recognized. According to the previously stated article, “President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” A stark contrast to the way the country interacted with its minority communities following the end of Jim Crow in 1965. 

Today black history month is celebrated with the help of local organizations, churches and community-run organizations. One such celebration is the Black History and Unity Festival in Anaheim every 1st Saturday of the month. As stated on the website by the Orange County Heritage Council, “Members of the community regardless of race, color, ethnicity, or culture are invited to the event, a well-attended parade which includes noted community members, elected officials, community groups, etc… ” 

Every year there is a new theme or special area of focus for black history month. According to the Association for the study of African American Life and History, “The theme of 2020 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. The theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g. birthworker, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.).” 

Some activities during Black History that can help people to better understand the reality of Black Americans in the past include Online Book talks or panels. As stated on the black history month website, ‘Events include an Online Book Talk on A House Built by Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House and an Online Panel Discussion on The Maritime Underground Railroad.’ 

Other activities for black history month include enjoying African food. According to the website, 15 Kid Activities, kids can become involved in Black History Month by writing to a loved one about Black History month and celebrating Black History inventors. One inventor that made an especially important contributor was Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the traffic light. In order to celebrate him children can create traffic light snacks, play red light green light, and discuss the importance of traffic lights in today’s daily life. 

It’s important to celebrate the great achievements that Black Americans made to this country and continue to make to this country every day. However, black history month gives us the opportunity to especially appreciate the accomplishments that often go unnoticed or unrecognized. According to the US Census, “Black Americans make up 13.5% of the US population.” With Black people making up such a small minority it’s even more crucial they get the credit they are due.