February is a month that holds a lot of significance for the African American community. This is because it is the month that has been designated to celebrate and honor the contributions made by African Americans to the United States of America.
However, there is often confusion about what this month is called – Black History Month or African American History Month? In this article, we will explore the origins of this celebration and clear up some of this confusion.
Origins of Black History Month
The origins of Black History Month can be traced back to Carter G. Woodson, an African American historian who wanted to highlight the contributions made by African Americans throughout history. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, and in 1926 he launched “Negro History Week”. This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass – two figures who played important roles in black history.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford declared February as National Black History Month. He called upon all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Black or African American?
So why is there confusion over whether this month should be called Black History Month or African American History Month? The answer lies in both history and personal preference.
The term “black” was widely used during the Civil Rights Movement as a way for people to assert their identity and demand equal rights. Many people still prefer this term today as it acknowledges their connection to Africa while also recognizing their experiences as Americans.
On the other hand, “African American” has become more widely used in recent years as a way to acknowledge ancestry while also emphasizing that these individuals are full-fledged citizens of America. Some people feel that “black” has negative connotations due to its past use as a racial slur, while others feel that “African American” is too narrow a term as it excludes people from the African diaspora who are not American.
Ultimately, the choice of terminology is a personal one and both terms are widely accepted.
Celebrating Black History Month
Regardless of what you call it, Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the contributions made by African Americans throughout history. This can be done in many ways – from attending events at local museums and community centers, to reading books by black authors or watching films that highlight black culture.
It’s also important to remember that black history is American history. The contributions made by African Americans have helped shape our country in countless ways, and it’s up to all of us to ensure that these stories are told and celebrated year-round.
In conclusion, whether you choose to call it Black History Month or African American History Month, February is a time to celebrate the rich history and culture of African Americans. By learning about the achievements made by individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Maya Angelou, we can gain a better understanding of our country’s past and work towards a more inclusive future. So let’s take this month as an opportunity to educate ourselves and celebrate the diversity that makes America great.