Black History Month began in 1926

Published 1:07 am Sunday, February 4, 2007

Searching for Black History Month, one finds 1,730,000 references to Black History on the web. That doesn’t include all the variations.

On Wikipedia (public domain) one finds this information. February has much more than Douglass and Lincoln to show for its significance in Black history. For example:

February 23, 1868: W.E.B. DuBois, important civil rights leader and co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was born.

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February 3, 1870: The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed, granting Blacks the right to vote.

February 25, 1870: The first Black U.S. Senator, Hiram Rhodes Revels, took his oath of office.

February 12, 1909: The NAACP was founded by a group of concerned and moderate black, Jewish and white citizens in New York City.

February 1, 1960: In what would become a civil-rights movement milestone, a group of black Greensboro, North Carolina, college students began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter.

February 21, 1965: Malcolm X, who promoted Black Nationalism, was shot to death by three Black Muslims.

History books had barely started covering black history when the tradition of Black History Month was started. At that point, most representation of blacks in history books was only in reference to the low social position they held, with the exception of George Washington Carver.

An annual debate begins around this time every year. Many African American radical/nationalist groups, including the Nation of Islam, have criticized Black History Month.

On the December 18, 2005 episode of 60 Minutes, actor Morgan Freeman criticized Black History Month as inadequate, noting that there is no White History Month. “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” Freeman believes that racism will persist as long as individuals continue to identify themselves by their skin color.

Woodson, creator of Negro History Week, hoped that the week would eventually be eliminated, when African-American history would be fully integrated with American history.