SEEKAPOR | an Educational Companion


The story behind the Black History Month dates back to 1915(half a century after the thirteenth amendment put an end to slavery in the United States). In September that year, Carter G. Woodson, who was studying for a Ph.D. at Harvard in History saw how Black people were underrepresented in the books he came across and in conversations that were about the study of American history. To him, when the history of America was being taught, African Americans were barely part of the story although the Africans did all the hard work. This, Woodson knew was not true. So in 1915,he and a Minister of the gospel, Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), which was set up to research and promote achievements of Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. The organization promoted the studying Black history as a discipline and celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans.
This association is still running but under the name, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).This group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926 and agreed on the second week of February to mark it since it coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, past African American president and Vice president of the United States respectively. The event inspired schools and communities to excel in every venture they found themselves in. With time, mayors of cities across the country joint the train and began issuing yearly proclamations in recognition of the Negro History Week.
By the late 1960s, with the help civil rights movements and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week evolved into the Black History Month on University campuses across the country where local celebrations were organized, history clubs were established and performances and lectures were also hosted in memory of Black people.
Then in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month when he called on the public to “seize the opportunity to honour the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavour throughout our history.” After Ford made this historic statement, every American president has designated February as Black History Month under a specific theme.

The Black History Month or National African American History Month, which grew out of the stated “Negro History Week”, which was the brainchild of Woodson and other prominent Americans of African descent, is now an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and also for recognizing and acknowledging the central role of African Americans in the history of the United States. However, the Black History Month will not be fully marked if the achievements of Blacks in the United States are recognized without telling the real story-the story that contains the pain, the tears, the struggles, the starvations, the scars and the deaths that occurred prior to their success. It is indeed necessary because Black People have been through a lot and their victories did not come on a silver platter. Although these happened aeons ago, it must not be forgotten. It should be told in detail and in truth to the younger generation so they strive and work hard towards their dreams because it has been done before and can be done again.

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August 17, 2017


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