Carter G. Woodson, historian and founder of Black History Month in America; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
If your’e looking for resources for Black History Month, the Library of Congress has published an extensive online repository “African American History Month.” It focuses on the history of African Americans in popular culture, sports, politics, Civil Rights, art, and more.
You can view written documents, images, audio collections, and video as it pertains to different areas of study and focus. To access content, simply visit here.
February is Black History Month – a time when Americans focus on the history, achievements, and contributions that African Americans have made. While it is not the only cultural heritage or focused history month, it is the oldest and often viewed as the most controversial. Black History month has been a unique and growing entity among not only American cultural history, but throughout the world (Canada and the UK most markedly).
In the United States, historian Carter Woodson (often called the “Father of Black History”) and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History proposed that the second week of February be recognized as “Negro History Week.” The date was chosen due to its proximity to the birthdates of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. He wanted Americans to focus on an celebrate the achievements of Black Americans with the ultimate goal of it being weeded out as Black History became a part of the American Historical curriculum:
“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” — Carter Woodson
“What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.” — Carter Woodson
The celebration of Black History week was hugely popular and spurred several Black History Clubs, interest from educators, and grew in importance with the Civil Rights movement. In 1976, the Federal Government recognized the expansion of Black History Week to Black History Month. In 1987, Black History month was celebrated for the first time in the United Kingdom. In 1995, Canada’s government officially recognized Black history month in Canadian curriculum.
The online exhibit includes numerous stories, first hand accounts, and images from that fateful event in which four young African-American college students sat at a “white’s only” lunch counter and refused to move, sparking a six month movement that would ultimately pave the way for Civil Rights in the state of North Carolina.
To learn more about the Civil Rights movement in America, to see more images and/or videos, and to access teaching resources, see the online exhibit.