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Posted By Global Black Pages on 01/24/2021 in News

What is Black History Month?

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month

February 1, 2021 - February 28, 2021

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month is recognized across the USA & Canada and by countries across the world in February every year. Black History Month is a month dedicated to commemorating African American people who have made a positive impact in American society. Many of these significant figures were a part of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s when Black people strove for equal rights as citizens.

How do you celebrate Black History Month?

During the month of February, many schools and universities teach their students about significant historical figures, such as Rosa Parks (a bus boycott activist), Martin Luther King Jr. (a civil rights leader and minister), Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman (an Olympian athlete), Alice Coachman (a director, journalist, and photographer), Gordon Parks (a physician and astronaut), Mae Jemison, Maya Angelou, and many more.

You can honor this awareness month by making sure Black voices and stories are present in your lessons, particularly in social studies but also in all subject areas. We have a responsibility to ensure that American history is taught truthfully and without bias, and to pass on the legacy of many courageous Black Americans who have taken a stand for liberty. Children might not know that just over 50 years ago, the US was still racially segregated.

When did Black History Month start?

Black History Month evolved into a significant event in the United States by the late 1960s, towards the end of the civil rights movement. However, it had a predecessor in the form of "Negro History Week" which was first observed in 1926. The first Black History Month was celebrated in January 1970, beginning at Kent State University and six years later, spreading nationwide. The long shadow of the Civil War and slavery had left the US with society and legal system where African Americans were treated as inferior, so it is important to dedicate time to learning Black history.

Initially proposed in 1969 by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University, formal celebration first began a year later in 1970.  A mere 6 years later, backed by President Ford, Black History Month was celebrated across all states of the USA.  President Ford stated citizens should “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.

Significant Figures in Black History Month

You can learn about famous Black leaders and innovators together, such as the two famous examples below.

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Jr. was known for his role in leading many of the Civil Rights Movement protests. He worked as a preacher, using this experience to deliver some of the most enduring speeches we know today. Leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott and pioneering the civil rights movement’s non-violent protests were just a few of the ways he made a significant impact on history before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Rosa Parks Day 2021

Rosa Parks made a stance against unfair racial treatment on buses. In the 1950s and 60s, public transport was separated into the "Black section" and the "White section." On December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks sat in the front seat of the bus’s black section - the back of the bus. The front of the bus began filling up and eventually there were no more seats left in the "White" section. She was asked to move further back into the back of the bus to make space for the white commuters. She refused. The police were called.  Along with Martin Luther King, Jr., she helped begin the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted over a year.

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