Is Black History Month an American Thing?

Black History Month is an annual observance that takes place in the United States every February. It is a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of African Americans throughout history. However, many people wonder if Black History Month is a uniquely American thing or if it is celebrated in other countries as well.

The Origins of Black History Month

Black History Month has its roots in Negro History Week, which was established in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson chose the second week of February for the observance because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two figures who played significant roles in African American history.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling upon Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Is Black History Month Celebrated Outside of the United States?

While Black History Month originated in the United States, it is not exclusively an American phenomenon. In fact, several other countries also have their own versions of Black History Month or similar observances.

In Canada, for example, February is also recognized as Black History Month. The observance began in Toronto in 1979 and was officially recognized by the Canadian government in 1995. Similar celebrations take place throughout Canada during February, including cultural festivals and educational programs.

The United Kingdom also celebrates Black History Month during October. The observance began in London in 1987 and has since spread throughout the country. Like its American counterpart, British Black History Month aims to promote education and awareness about black history and culture.

Other countries that observe some form of Black History Month include Germany (which celebrates during February), Ireland (October), and the Netherlands (November).

    The Importance of Recognizing Black History

  • One reason why so many countries have adopted Black History Month is that it provides an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of black people throughout history.
  • For too long, the contributions of black people have been overlooked or minimized, which has led to a distorted view of history that ignores the experiences and perspectives of entire communities. Black History Month helps to correct this imbalance by shining a spotlight on the accomplishments of black people and raising awareness about their struggles.
  • Moreover, recognizing black history is not just important for members of the black community.

    It is also crucial for promoting greater understanding and empathy among people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. By learning about the experiences and contributions of others, we can develop a more inclusive and compassionate society.


While Black History Month may have originated in the United States, it has become a global phenomenon that is celebrated in many other countries as well. By recognizing the achievements and struggles of black people throughout history, Black History Month helps to promote greater understanding and empathy among people from all walks of life. Whether you are in the United States or abroad, taking time to learn about black history can help to create a more equitable and just society for all.