Celebrating Black History Month

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20:  President Barack Oba...
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By Katie O’Neil
Staff Writer

Every February we celebrate Black History Month. Most people remember this because of papers they had to write about an African-American that influenced history. However, it is more than that! Black History Month itself has a history that many people do not know. Now that Black History Month is here, I think it is appropriate that we know why we celebrate it, and how it all started.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson is the man that started the study of African-Americans. He felt it was unfair that African-Americans were not in the history books for what they did or for what happened to them. The only times they were in the history books was when they were portrayed as an inferior race. Woodson wanted to fight this and, after earning his Ph. D. from Harvard, he created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915. A year after he created this association, he established the Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he wanted to gain national attention for his history, and he introduced Negro History Week. He decided Negro History Week should be in February, the birth month of Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two champions of African-American rights. His determination of teaching people the history of his race paid off.

A common misconception about this month is that people think it is to honor the African-American men and women who changed history, but it is so much more. It is about everything that happened to them. All the historical moments that changed the country, the people, and history as we know it. Some of these events are:

  • 1619 – The first African slaves arrive in Virginia.
  • 1787- Slavery is made illegal in the Northwest Territory. The U.S. Constitution states that Congress may not ban the slave trade until 1808.
  • 1849- Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and becomes one of the most effective and celebrated leaders of the Underground Railroad.
  • 1869- Howard University’s law school becomes the country’s first black law school.

These events shape the way we live our lives because of the impact it caused and continues to cause to our culture and way of thinking. We are still living Black History, since Barack Obama recently became our first Black President. It is important that we celebrate our history of all races, religions, and cultures because they change how we look at life and what matters to us.

History affects us every single day of our lives! This certainly shows that we should not just celebrate Black History Month in February, but keep it in our minds and hearts always because it is truly a major part of our history.

If you are more interested in dates and timelines, the previous information was from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bhmtimeline.html Check it out- you might just learn something new!

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