In celebrating Black History, do we know the history of Black History?
It actually began in 1926 and it was originally called Negro History Week. It was ushered in by a historian Carter G. Woodson and The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. It was set for the second week of February because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
In its inaugural run, The Department of Education had the cooperation of three states along with school administrations of Baltimore and Washington D.C. For one week they would teach the history of American Blacks. Woodson said it showed signs of progress and it would gain support if done on an annual basis. Other than the Department of Education, the program had support of many Black churches throughout the nation.
"If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization."
In February of 1969, students at Kent State University wanted to extend it from a week to the entire month. One year later, they would celebrate it for the whole month at Kent State. Once again, the program picked up steam and by the bicentennial, Black History Month was officially recognized by the United States government.
President Gerald Ford's remarks were as follows:
"seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."
I ask of those that are supporting the movement, while embracing the inventors, the civil rights leaders, the entrepreneurs, and the athletes, please remember the father of the Black History Movement, Carter G. Woodson.
Terrill L. Davis