Black History Month is an annual event that is celebrated to remember the achievements of the African American community, by the African American community. Black History Month (BHM) is a time for recognizing the community’s central role in U.S. history. BHM is also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. 

Ever since 1976, every President of the United States has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and Canada, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.

Origins of Black History Month

The history of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery in the United States of America. In September of 1915, minister Jesse E. Moorland and historian Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History aka ASNLH. The ASNLH was an organization that was dedicated to promoting and researching achievements by Black Americans and other people of African descent.

As of today, the ASNLH is called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The group decided to sponsor a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February since it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Negro History week inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host lectures and performances.

FUN FACT: The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln.

Ever since 1976, every US President has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a special theme. The theme for BHM 2021 is- “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity”. This theme explores the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the States.