By Anna Gonzales |Staff Writer|
Black History Month had its beginnings with the annual celebration of Negro History Week.
The journey towards the creation of the week-long celebration of African Americans was triggered 50 years after the 13th Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1865.
The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) was created by Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland in 1915, with the goal of “researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent,” according to history.com.
ASNLH was responsible for sponsoring the first Negro History Week in 1926. The second week of February was chosen by ASNLH leaders, as it contained the birthdays of two famous abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, according to history.com.
“The Civil Rights Movement and growing awareness of Black identity” sparked the transition of Negro History Week into Black History Month, celebrated on college campuses during the late 1960s.
Black History Month became nationally recognized for the first time in 1976, with the support of President Gerald R. Ford.
“Ford urged Americans to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,” according to africanamericanhistory.org.
Canada and the United Kingdom (UK) are two countries that also recognize Black History Month at the state level.