Black History Month honors African Americans and affirms their achievements and central roles in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the initiative of historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans, who in 1915 founded an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Using the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln as touchstones, the group chose the second week of February for the inaugural Negro History Week in 1926.
Fifty years later, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
The Black History Month 2021 theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” explores the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the United States.
In addition to participating in the academy-wide programs and classroom discussions, community members can engage in celebration on their own with reading, viewing, and listening materials available in the Boyden Library.