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Everything You Need to Know About Black History Month

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“Black and White are the two sides of a Coin.”

How would you feel if someone judged you based on your colour? Colour should never be the criteria to judge people. Black History Month is one such initiative to spread awareness among all.

February is celebrated as Black History Month. You might have many other questions regarding Black History Month – why, when and where? Well, we have all the answers for you.

How Black History Month came into existence?

Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, came into existence in 1970. 

The governments of the United States, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom have officially recognized it and celebrate it yearly. It is celebrated in February in all three other countries except in the UK, where it is celebrated in October.

Black History Month’s inception occurred in 1926 in the United States. The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) and historian Carter G. Woodson have designated the second week of February as “Negro History Week.”

During Woodson’s lifetime, Negro History Week had grown into an important part of African Americans’ lives, and more Americans had begun to appreciate the celebration.

Why is only February chosen to be the Negro History Week?

Since the late 19th century, the Black Communities together celebrated the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, i.e., 12th February and Frederick Douglass, i.e., 14th of February. Due to the same, the 2nd week of February has been chosen to be the Negro History Week as it coincides.

The two main reasons for the birth of Negro History Week are ‘recognition’ and ‘importance’. The event’s initiation goes back to when coordinated teaching was encouraged for Black Americans History in the nation’s public schools. Despite far-from-universal observance, Woodson said that the event has been “one of the most fortunate steps ever taken by the Association.”

Throughout the decades, Negro History Week has gained popularity nationwide, with mayors endorsing it as a holiday.

Beginning of Black History Month (1970)

Black United Students and the Black Educators at Kent State University in February 1969 initially proposed Black History Month, although its 1st celebration took place in the year 1970 from 2nd January to 28th February in Kent State itself.

Six years later, when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month in 1976, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial, Black History Month was being celebrated across the country at educational institutions, cultural centres, and community centres, large and small.

“Seize the opportunity to honour the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavour throughout our history,” then-President Gerald R. Ford urged all Americans.

There was an enthusiastic response to Black History Month in the whole community, resulting in the creation of Black history clubs, a rise in teacher interest, and increasing interest from progressive whites.

Initiation of Black History Month in Various Countries

As time passed, many countries encouraged Black History Month and started with its celebration for the encouragement and support of Black People in the given respective years.

  • 1970 – United States
  • 1987 – United Kingdom
  • 1990 – Germany
  • 1995 – Canada
  • 2010 – Republic of Ireland

When Barack Obama was in the role of Presidency in the year 2016, the school volunteer and resident Virginia McLaurin visited the White House during Black History Month. President asked her why she was there. McLaurin replied, “A Black president. A Black wife. And I’m here to celebrate Black history. That’s what I’m here for.”

Black History Month has proven to be impactful in spreading awareness about the Black Community in various countries over many decades.

The Controversies That Arise During Black History Month Establishment

When Black History Month was initially established, it had many controversies. 

  • In contrast to black history being integrated into mainstream education throughout the year, those who believe Black History Month was restricted to educational institutions questioned whether it should be solely celebrated for one month.
  • In contrast to its original motivation, which was to address the lack of representation of Black historical figures in American schools as anything other than enslaved people or colonists, Black History Month may exacerbate the problem of reducing complex historical figures to oversimplified objects of worship.
  • It has also been criticised as a form of racism by other critics.

Despite its initial acceptance in educational institutions, Black History Month has grown rapidly over the years. Every year, Carter Woodson’s group, now called ASALH (African American Life and History), selects a theme like Black Health and Awareness in 2022, etc.

SHAVONE, Instagram’s former Head of Global Music & Youth Culture Communications, created Instagram’s first-ever Black History Month program in 2018. The #BlackGirlMagic partnership with Spotify and the #CelebrateBlackCreatives program, which reached more than 19 million followers, were among Instagram’s first-ever Black History Month initiatives.

Black History Month 2023 will be celebrated from 1st February to 1st March 2023.

Bottom Line

Black History Month, or National African-American History Month, values integrity, diversity, inclusion and freedom. Since its inception in 1970, it has grown rapidly to represent the black community and help them come out of the box and be whosoever they are.

Black people contribute highly in various industries, including CRM and Digital Marketing, and we encourage each of them. Cloud Analogy supports every community irrespective of caste, colour, gender, etc.

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Sachin Arora

Scrum Master and Principal Solutions Architect
Sachin, a renowned Scrum Master and Principal Solutions Architect at Cloud Analogy, has rich experience when it comes to working on process improvement in a fast-paced environment maintaining high level of quality in all deliverables. Sachin's expertise lies in varied hardware and software environments including Cloud technologies such as Salesforce, AWS, Cloud Foundry & Google App Engine and Mobile.

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