Learning for Life
Honoring Black History Month
What started as a weeklong observance of African and black American history has evolved into a month-long celebration of culture, icons and events highlighting the central role of blacks in history.
Celebrate the Trailblazers of History
Back in 1926, the second week in February was officially declared “Negro History Week” by scholar Carter G. Woodson because it included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglas and the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which removed race as a qualification for voting.
With support from universities around the U.S., it eventually became Black History Month and was proclaimed a national observance in 1976. Other countries around the world, including Canada, also devote the month of February to celebrating black history. As an organization that respects and embraces differences, please join us in recognizing and celebrating African and black American trailblazers.
In addition to sharing historical aspects of this month, we want to highlight the “why” and the importance of Black History Month. We are a multicultural society and contributions from everyone — no matter their background, race, ethnicity, or culture — move us forward.
Black History Is Our History.
It is. And Black History Month allows us to honor the achievements of black and African Americans and the central roles they play in the history of the U.S. and Canada. As U.S. President Gerald Ford said, “[In celebrating Black History Month], we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Here’s How You Can Celebrate and Honor Black History Month
Engage in Black History Month activities on campus or in your community. Attending an event is a great way to show support not only during the month of February but throughout the year as well. You can also …
- Visit a black history or civil rights museum in your area to better understand the importance and significance of Black History Month.
- Read Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” and foster a conversation around how you wish to inspire change in the world.
- Expand your knowledge of current events and sign up to receive news from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
- Familiarize yourself with issues regarding racism and prejudice in your community or college campus and engage in respectful conversations about them.
- Explore the work of a black creative (artist, poet, local musician, etc.)
* Ideas compiled from lists provided by the NAACP and the HEC. Find more in the links below:
Mark Your Calendar
As members of the Greek community, it’s important to understand the contributions of African-American fraternities and sororities and how their existence informs the college experience we know today. We'll cover that and more at the next All-Member Experience Speaker Series episode, “Fraternal History IS Black History: An Introduction to Black Greekdom” with author with Lawrence Ross on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET.