Black History Month began as Negro History Week, established in February 1926 by historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950). Dr. Woodson, a Harvard graduate who was born to former slaves, was concerned that African American history had been ignored in U.S. educational curricula. He inaugurated Negro History Week to recognize African Americans’ role in the shaping of the nation’s history. Black History Month is an opportunity to honor the lives and achievements of African Americans. The month of February was chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of Black abolitionist Frederick Douglas, President Abraham Lincoln and Langstron Hughes.
Frederick Douglas Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey. He was an American abolitionist, women's suffragist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. Called "The Sage of Anacostia" and "The Lion of Anacostia", Douglass is one of the most prominent figures in African-American and United States history. In 1872, Douglass became the first African American nominated as a Vice Presidential candidate in the U.S., running on the Equal Rights Party ticket with Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States. Feb 14, 1818 – Feb 20, 1895
Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States. He successfully led the country through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery. As the war was drawing to a close, Lincoln became the first American president to be assassinated. Before his election in 1860 as the first Republican president, Lincoln had been a lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, a member of the United States House of Representatives, and twice an unsuccessful candidate for election to the U.S. Senate. Feb 12, 1809 - April 15, 1865
Langston Hughes James Mercer Langston Hughes, best known as Langston Hughes, was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. Hughes is known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. Feb 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967
Art Art explores the origins of the soul Breathing life into the dead Forming expressions mutely untold Erasing frowns with smiles instead Art gathers peoples together Of every race and tongue Converts stress to a feather With a little artwork life was begun… - Anonymous
African Diaspora The African Diaspora was the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world - predominantly to the Americas, then later to Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe.
Red represents African bloodshed during the years of European occupation
Yellow represents the African riches plundered under occupation
Green represents the fertility of the land.
Pan-African colors are black, red, yellow and green. Traditional Ethiopian Flag Pan-African Flag
Black Faces Color void of color Rainbow yet it seems Of every shade or contrast From dark, light and in between A symbol with a meaning Life of stories told A beginning with no ending Essence can never be sold - Anonymous
Education There are 103 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the US today, including public and private, 2-year and 4-year institutions, medical schools and community colleges Most HBCU's were established after the American Civil War. Lincoln University (Pennsylvania), established in 1854, and Wilberforce University, established in 1856, were two prominent institutions of higher education established for blacks prior to the American Civil War.
Soul Food The term soul food became popular in the 1960s, when the word soul became used in connection with African American culture. The origins of soul food, however, are much older and can be traced back to Africa. Rice; sorghum, known by Europeans as "guinea corn"; okra; and peanuts -- all common elements in West African cuisine -- were introduced to the Americas as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and became dietary staples among enslaved Africans. They also comprise an important part of American southern cooking. Many culinary historians believe that in the beginning of the 14th century, around the time of early African exploration, European explorers brought their own food supplies and introduced them into the African diet. Also, slave owners fed their chattel as cheaply as possible, often with throwaway foods from the plantation, forcing slaves to make do with the ingredients at hand.
African Food Traditionally, as in almost all cultures, the food of Africa uses a combination of locally available fruits, cereal grains, and vegetables, milk and meat products. In some parts of Africa, the traditional African diet has a predominance of milk, curd, and whey. In much of tropical Africa however, cow's milk is rare and cannot be produced locally (owing to various diseases that affect livestock). Yet, differences, sometimes significant, are noticeable in the eating and drinking habits across the continent of Africa - African food differs in different parts of Africa, and East Africa, North Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and Central Africa each have their own distinctive foods. They are very well known for their distinctive cooking styles.
West Indian Food Much of the history of the Caribbean is reflected in the traditional music and food of the region. Original Caribbean cuisine has its roots in not only imperial foods, but in the odd recipes crafted by the early African slaves. Their attempts to recreate dishes from their homelands were tempered by the ingredients they had at hand – the main diet of slaves consisted of whatever their masters didn't want. Thus many of the spices native to the Caribbean islands made their way into simple, African dishes.
Importance of Black History Month going Forward… For the Past…
Importance of Black History Month going Forward… For the Present…
Importance of Black History Month going Forward… For the Kids…
Importance of Black History Month going Forward… Although "African-American history is American history" and, as such, should be integrated into the fabric of our education and daily consciousness, it also warrants particular attention. America's promise, past, present, and future, will always be tied to, and measured by, the socioeconomic status of African-Americans. No matter how much we grow, and no matter how unified we become, we will always be a post-slave and Jim Crow society. It will always be in our best interest to pause and explore the meaning of freedom through the lived experiences of a people who forced America to be true to its creed and reaffirmed the American dream. Knowledge of African-American history is essential to comprehending our nation's character, and we should do everything that we can to ensure that all Americans know precisely who we are and how we came to be. Moreover, Black History Month not only reminds of how far we've come, given all the challenges that remain, it also reminds us of how far we still must go.