Facts about Black History Month
Black History Month is observed on an annual basis in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany. In the United States, it is also known as African-American History Month. The goal of Black History Month is to remember both significant African-Americans and significant events in Black history. Black History Month began in 1926 as Negro History Week, an annual week-long celebration designed to promote education about America’s Black history. By 1929, it had gained widespread acceptance. Leaders of Kent State University’s Black United Students proposed a month-long celebration in 1969, which occurred one year later in February 1970. The United States government officially recognized Black History Month in 1976.
Black History Month is observed in both Canada and the United States in February.
In the United Kingdom, Black History Month is observed in October.
Many significant events in Black history have occurred in February throughout history. It was chosen as the month to commemorate Black History Month because Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and writer, was born in this month, as was Abraham Lincoln, who played a significant role in shaping Black history.
On a Dutch ship in 1619, the first enslaved Africans (20) were brought to the United States.
The introduction of Eli Whitney’s new cotton gin in 1793 increased demand for slaves in the United States.
The importation of slaves was prohibited by Congress in 1808.
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849. She later assisted approximately 300 other slaves in gaining their freedom by escaping via the Underground Railroad.
On February 1st, the 38th Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Slavery was abolished by this amendment. It was passed in 1865.
The first Negro History Week began on February 7th, 1926. Carter G. Woodson created it.
Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” was born to former slaves Eliza and James Woodson. He received his master’s degree from the University of Chicago and his doctorate from Harvard University.
The first African-American woman to win the US Open Women’s Singles. Debi Thomas won the National Figure Skating Championship in 1986.
On February 10, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law. It made it illegal for state or local governments or public facilities to deny anyone access based on ethnic origin or race. It also made school segregation illegal and subject to legal action.
The first Black professional basketball team was formed on February 13th, 1923. It was known as ‘The Renaissance.’
Vonetta Flowers won the first black gold medal in Winter Olympic Games history on February 19th, 2002. Vonetta and her partner won the inaugural (women’s) two-person bobsled event.
Elston Gene Howard, a Black baseball catcher, signed a $70,000 contract with the New York Yankees in 1929. It was the largest contract in baseball history (at the time).
Debi Thomas became the first African-American woman to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. In 1988, she won bronze in figure skating.
In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. He was a well-known African-American Civil Rights Movement leader.
Barack Obama became the first Black President of the United States in 2009.