Black History Month is here and, for many of us in the culture, the history and contributions of our people remain front and center all year long. On X, formerly known as Twitter, Black History Month became the top trending topic and sparked several replies we’ve gathered below.
Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Former President Daryl Michael Scott shared in an essay on the ASALH website that definitively explains the rich history of Black History Month and its founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
In the summer of 1915 in Chicago, Woodson, who attended the University of Chicago, traveled to the city to join in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation. With thousands of Black attendees at the event, Woodson and others held exhibits displaying varying articles related to Black history. For three weeks, crowds converged upon the Coliseum, which sparked Woodson to form an organization dedicated to studying Black life and history. On Sept. 9 of that year, Woodson met with A. L. Jackson and three others to establish the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH).
More from the ASALH website:
He hoped that others would popularize the findings that he and other black intellectuals would publish in The Journal of Negro History, which he established in 1916. As early as 1920, Woodson urged black civic organizations to promote the achievements that researchers were uncovering. A graduate member of Omega Psi Phi, he urged his fraternity brothers to take up the work. In 1924, they responded with the creation of Negro History and Literature Week, which they renamed Negro Achievement Week. Their outreach was significant, but Woodson desired greater impact. As he told an audience of Hampton Institute students, “We are going back to that beautiful history and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements.” In 1925, he decided that the Association had to shoulder the responsibility. Going forward it would both create and popularize knowledge about the black past. He sent out a press release announcing Negro History Week in February, 1926.
Woodson chose February for reasons of tradition and reform. It is commonly said that Woodson selected February to encompass the birthdays of two great Americans who played a prominent role in shaping black history, namely Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are the 12th and the 14th, respectively. More importantly, he chose them for reasons of tradition. Since Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, the black community, along with other Republicans, had been celebrating the fallen President’s birthday. And since the late 1890s, black communities across the country had been celebrating Douglass’. Well aware of the pre-existing celebrations, Woodson built Negro History Week around traditional days of commemorating the black past. He was asking the public to extend their study of black history, not to create a new tradition. In doing so, he increased his chances for success.
The 1970s saw a wider embrace of a longer celebration period, something Woodson advocated for in his lifetime along with other educators. At Kent State University, the Black United Students Group and other Black educators combined their efforts for a Black History Month celebration in 1970.
In 1976, the month-long celebration began taking root across the country after President Gerald Ford recognized the month during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. Across the globe, Black History Month jumped off at varying intervals with the United Kingdom first celebrating the month in 1987, with Germany and Canada joining along in the 1990s.
Keep scrolling to see the reactions from X below.
Black History Month Trends On X, Here Are The Best Tweets #BlackHistoryMonth was originally published on hiphopwired.com