Caroline J. Campbell
Associate Features Editor

During the month of February, stores are decorated with lace-frilled red hearts and pink paper streamers. Their shelves are amply stocked with gourmet chocolates and stuffed bears. Televisions are blaring with recommendations on what to get your “sweetheart,” and everyone is in a rush to find a significant other to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. However, for many, February symbolizes something different: It celebrates the idea of freedom, equality, and historical understanding. It is Black History Month.

Carter G. Woodson is one of the primary individuals who has sparked the celebration of black history. Woodson, the son of two slaves, grew up in the coal mines and enrolled in high school at the age of twenty. He graduated within two years and eventually received his doctorate from Harvard University. During his education, he discovered that there was a lack of black Americans in history books.

Carter Woodson is considered the founder of what was to become Black History Month. He wanted black and African American history to be studies and documented. (Photo Courtesy of Marianne Caesar)
Carter Woodson is considered the founder of what was to become Black History Month. He wanted black and African American history to be studies and documented. (Photo Courtesy of Marianne Caesar)

In 1915, he assisted in the founding of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which is now known as the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. This organization is dedicated to researching and promoting black history and accomplishments. In 1926, Woodson created Negro History Week, which took place during the second week of February between the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. Negro

History Week’s purpose was to help remember and “write” black Americans into history.Assisted by the Civil Rights Movement and various colleges across the region, Negro History Week evolved into Black History Month in the 1960s. Then, in 1976, the U.S. and other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom officially designated February as Black History Month.

During the month of February, various events have occurred which have solidified February as Black History Month:

Feb. 23, 1868- W.E.B. Dubois, a civil rights and co-founder of National Association of the

Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was born.

Feb, 3, 1870- 15th Amendment was passed allowing blacks to vote.

Feb. 25, 1870- Hirman R. Revels, the first black U.S. Senator, was voted into office.

Feb. 12, 1909- The NAACP was founded in New York City.

Feb. 1, 1960- The well-known civil rights movement in Greensboro, N.C., occurred where college students staged a sit-in in Woolworth’s counter.

On February 4, 2016, Millersville will be kicking off Black History Month by hosting speaker Cheryl Brown Henderson at the Winter Visual and Performing Arts center. Henderson is one of three
daughters of Reverend Oliver L. Brown, the man for whom the monumental Supreme Court case of 1954 was named “Brown vs. the Board of Education.” The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.