February is Black History Month – a month dedicated to be intentional about recognizing the achievements and contributions of Black people throughout history. It is a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of Black communities, to celebrate Black culture and heritage, and to recognize the very significant contributions that have been made throughout history in the United States.
How Black History Month Started
Harvard historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jesse E. Moorland, also known for his work with the YMCA
In 1915, Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves and the second African American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard, and Minister Jesse E. Moorland, founded what is today known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in order to bring awareness to the African American people who had made contributions to society, but had been forgotten or left out of the narrative.
In 1926, the men were looking for a way to make those previously unsung contributions of African Americans known to the public. Choosing the second week of February, to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, Negro History Week was celebrated. ONE week. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures. It wasn’t until the 1960s that colleges and universities began to expand the recognition of African American history to the full month of February.
President Abraham Lincoln and slavery abolitionist, Frederick C. Douglass
In 1976, President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month and made it nationally known, and it became the month-long celebration that we know today. He called 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.”
Every year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History chooses a theme around which to center their Black History Month celebrations. The theme for 2024 is “African Americans and the Arts”, which acknowledges creatives, from Black poets and writers, to visual artists and dancers, for their fight against oppression through their craft.
Interesting Black History Facts –
- Though the practice of celebrating Black History Month originated in the U.S., other countries also celebrate. Canada, Austria, and Germany join the U.S. in February, and in countries like The United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Ireland celebrate in October.
- The founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) coincides with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. The NAACP is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its inception was Feb 12th, 1909, and was chosen to mark the 100th birthday of Abraham Lincoln and coincided with Frederick Douglass’s birthday, celebrated on February 14th.
- William Tucker was the first known Black person to be born in the 13 colonies. He was born in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1624. According to BlackPast.org, his parents were indentured servants and part of the first group of Africans brought to colonial soil by Great Britain.
- Anthony Benezet, a white Quaker, abolitionist, and educator, is credited with creating the first public school for African American children in the early 1770s.
- First published in 1936, The Negro Motorist Green Book was a comprehensive guide for Black travelers about locations across America – and eventually overseas — that were either Black-owned or didn’t engage in segregationist practices. The guide was printed for 30 years, and stopped publication in 1966, two years after the Civil Rights Act was passed.
- In July 1777, Vermont became the first colony to ban slavery. Mississippi was the last to ratify the 13th amendment and ban slavery.
Follow our blogs throughout February for several more interesting facts and learn more about Black achievements, excellence, and history, as we focus on the theme for 2024: “African Americans and the Arts”.
Fellowship Fleet Limousine and Bus Company is ready to meet your transportation needs as you celebrate Black History Month, or for any other transportation needs. Book your reservation HERE!