Born in 1875, ten years after the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery in 1865, former Sharecropper and miner turned scholar and educator; Dr. Carter G Woodson is the Father of Black History Month. The second African American after Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, to earn a doctorate from Harvard University, Dr. Woodson believed men and women of African descent in America were purposefully denied learning about their history, heritage, their culture, mores, and beliefs, and the greatness from where they came from. Furthermore, and more importantly, beyond slavery, Black people needed to be informed about the Black achievements of their ancestors as an example of how we can become once we know who we truly are.
In February 1926, Woodson sent out a press release announcing the first Negro History Week. He chose this month because of the significance of the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two prominent men whose historic achievements African Americans already celebrated.
The author of more than twenty books, Woodson knew one week was too little time to celebrate our history. His most famous book was The Miseducation of the Negro where he said, “If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race…”
It was not until 50 years after Negro History Week that President Gerald Ford officially named it Black History Month.
We believe Our History from the beginning of civilization to the present should be celebrated daily. We are so much more than learning about who we are formerly enslaved or colonized. We are the birth of humanity. When we know who we truly are, we can begin to know our greatness, think more critically about ourselves, love ourselves, and do good for our Beloved Community.
Our accountability to our families and our neighborhoods is first by acquiring the facts and true undiluted knowledge. This inspires a love of self and our community.