The Story Behind Black History Month

Some may argue a whole month devoted to celebrating and making people aware the history and struggle of African-Americans is irrelevant or archaic. Others may think that yes; we must embrace our widely diverse culture and learn more about our fellow Americans, listen to their story and feel their pain.

February is Black History Month. The remembrance was founded by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1962 as Negro History Week. He chose the second week in February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans; former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass, who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans. Woodson also founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which is now called the association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Slavery in the United States lasted as a legal institution until 1865 when it was abolished with the espousal of the thirteenth amendment. Slavery was one of the principle issues leading to the American Civil War. After the 13th Amendment was adopted, racial discrimination became regulated by the Jim Crow Laws which mandated strict segregation of the races. This included but was not limited to such things as separate water fountains, restrooms and movie theaters. Feelings between whites and blacks were so tense, even the jails were segregated. This lasted up until the 1960’s when racial segregations was ended as an official practice by the efforts of such civil rights activists as Clarence Mitchell, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Even though all men were created equal, not all men were treated equal. It is the ignorance and racism that tore a nation a part years ago in which we are reminded of today. We must be educated to truly understand the suffering that transpired on our soil. History has a story to be told and if we do not listen; it might just repeat itself. Whose story will you listen to? Visit blackvoices.com for more information on black history.