Today starts Black History Month and we wanted to look into the origins of the event as well as the implications and why it’s important today.
The Origins of Black History Month
The beginnings can be traced back to 1926 when a group called the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History chose the second week of February to recognize the contributions of African Americans in U.S. history. The second week was chosen because it included the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
President Gerald Ford made it a month long event in 1976.
The purpose of Black History Month is to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history.
Black History Month Themes
Did you know that each year there’s a different theme to the month? Past year’s themes included Black Migrations, African Americans and the Vote, The Black Family, and Black Health and Wellness. The theme for 2023 is Black Resistance. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History says…
By resisting Black people have achieved triumphs, successes, and progress as seen in the end of chattel slavery, dismantling of Jim and Jane Crow segregation in the South, increased political representation at all levels of government, desegregation of educational institutions, the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in DC and increased and diverse representation of Black experiences in media. Black resistance strategies have served as a model for every other social movement in the country, thus, the legacy and importance of these actions cannot be understated.
Did you know that other countries now celebrate Black History Month? Canada follows us in picking the month of February while October is the chosen month in the U.K. Ireland and the Netherlands!
Did you know the town of Allensworth, CA was the first town in California to be founded, governed and financed by African Americans? That was in 1908! The town is just south of us down Hwy 43 towards Bakersfield).
Did you know there’s a Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. Check them out at https://fmbcc.com/
Did you know that The African American Historical & Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley (AAHCMSJV) is located right here in Fresno?
Find the AAHCMSJV
Address: 1857 Fulton St. Fresno, CA 93721
Black History Month is an important opportunity to raise awareness about the role of African Americans in shaping American society and to recognize their achievements and contributions in fields such as arts, sciences, education, politics, and more. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the ongoing challenges facing African Americans, including racial discrimination and inequality, and to work towards creating a more inclusive and just society.