Remembering history

By Justin Bostwick
February 19, 2009

Shannon Keough

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” Dr. Martin Luther King, the American black civil rights leader, said these words and made a permanent change in the history of black Americans.

Individuals, such as King, are incredibly well-known for their contributions to African-American history. Furthermore, there are many others who have had a significant role in African-American history.

Black History Month is a tradition that has been recognized and celebrated in the United States since 1926.

The person who started the celebration of African-American history was Dr. Carter G. Woodson. An African-American scholar and son to former slaves. Woodson was appalled to find that African-American history was nowhere to be found in United States history books. He was determined to change that and to have African-American citizens become recognized just as much as white citizens.

To embark on his mission, he began the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. He then established the Journal of Negro History, which was the publication for the group.

In 1926, Woodson founded Negro History Week. This week was noticed in order to bring attention to all that black Americans that had contributed to society throughout history.

Woodson chose the second week of February because it was the week of two unforgettable birthdays.

Frederick Douglass, a former escaped slave who later became the most well known abolitionist and civil rights leader, shared the birthday week with Abraham Lincoln, the American president who signed the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery in the confederate states.

Woodson later earned his name as the “Father of Black History.”

It wasn’t until 1976 where the celebration became the entire month of February. The month also goes by African-American Heritage Month.

February is a month filled with memorable moments in black history. African-American Heritage Month is recognized nationwide on television, newspapers, magazines and radio.

For more information, visit There, an interactive timeline on black history teaches the events of history and the order they took place. It begins in 1916, when slavery first became apparent in America and ends in 2009 where the first black United States president was elected into office.

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Justin Bostwick

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