This February America once again pauses to celebrate the history and contributions of the African American people. Since 1926 America has celebrated what was initially Negro History week thanks to the ambition of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, which brought national attention to the history of Black people in America. In 1976, the week long celebration was expanded to a month long celebration in February, in what is now recognized as Black History Month.
Remembering the great and heroic lives of people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, Madam C.J. Walker, Sojourner Truth and Garrett Morgan gives young African Americans a sense of pride in their culture, and Americans a more complete contextual understanding of the history of our country. It is important to remind ourselves of the historical influence of African Americans, from the invention of the traffic light to the continuing struggle to end discrimination and embrace cultural diversity.
However, celebrating for one month is not enough to eliminate the prevalence of racist attitudes that lead to discriminatory acts. Much of America continues to exist in segregation and most people rarely stray outside of their cultural safety zones. Although civil rights laws impose legal consequences on overt discriminatory practices and racial harassment, laws can only control behavior. We must view tools like Black History Month as opportunities to focus on changing attitudes through education in hopes of eliminating social ignorance.
Black history and timelines, statistics on African Americans, and biographies of notable African Americans.
Biography Channel Celebrates Black History Month
History Channel Celebrates Black History Month
Black History Month online resources
Black History Past and Present
Special Collection: Black History Month
Biographies of African American Leaders
Michigan eLibrary Resources on Black History Month