There is a long and rich history of American Africans. Their struggles, successes, and contributions are endless. Around a century ago, this month began as a black history week. And today, it stretches for a month. So every February, many people educate the world about black history facts.
Origins of Black History Month
This month began as the “Negro History Week”. It began in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. He was a known historian, educator, and scholar. He chose February. So it meets the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. So join us as we uncover this history.
1. The Beginning of Black History Month
As you know, it all started in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson as a Black History Week. It was to highlight the lives of black Americans. Their lives and contributions to the country. So slowly and gradually, this celebration turned into a month-long activity.
In 1968. the members of Black United Students walked out in protest. It was against the bad conduct charges on students participating in protests. Thus, their successful activism helped make three black studies departments in the university. So the following year, these students demanded that this week extend to a month. Another prominent student was Thomas Jones. His armed revolt at Cornell University changed the dynamics of education. Then he later went on to become a famous business tycoon and author. His memoir, “From Willard Straight to Wall Street,” shows the struggle of black students.
3. New Year, New Theme
The theme of this month changes every year. The very first Black History Month had the theme of Civilization. While this year, the theme was Black Resistance. So this topic shows the historic and modern oppressions against African Americans. Moreover, it speaks against injustices and racism.
4. Why Choose February
This celebration takes place in February. But why? As this month has the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Moreover, these two leaders worked for the betterment of the lives of American Africans. So this month was specially chosen to honor them.
Many civil rights leaders had a part in making this month a worldwide celebration. So they brought national attention to this month. By activists like Du Bois, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, and Rosa Parks. Thus, many freedom schools came forward in the Civil Rights Movement. So the popularity of this month grew.
6. An Honor to American Africans
This month specially mentions the prominent African Americas. Such as Maya Angelou, George Washington Carver, and Harriet Tubman. They remember the achievements and contributions of these people. And appreciate their work toward empowering the black community.
7. Sponsors of the Month
Different organizations from across the country sponsor this event. The list includes many big names from the industry. Such as US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Library of Congress, and National Park Service. These sponsors help in organizing the different events during this month.
In 1995, the celebrations started becoming worldwide. The Mother of Black History, Dr. Jean Augustine, established this celebration in Canada. So they also celebrate it in February. But Ireland, the Netherlands, and the UK celebrate this month in October. So they focus mainly on the Black History of their countries.
9. Catering to Every American African
The US Census of 2022 shows that 13.6% of the population of the US are Black Americans. So that means there are over 45 million different lives. And, of course, different experiences. This month honors the experience of each Black American. Thus, this month unites all American Africans and honors their work for the country.
10. Year-Round Celebration
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) provide higher education to Black Americans. The Cheyney University of Pennsylvania was the very first HBCU. So today, there are over 100 HBCUs across America. Moreover, they have a mission to educate Black Americans and empower them. So they work toward the rights and growth of American Africans.
Famous American Africans
Now that we know some of the black history facts. It’s time to know more about famous black people.
Jack Johnson was the first boxer to win the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title. He won this award in 1908. And he held this title till 1915. Jackie Robinson was the first Black Athlete to play in the big leagues of baseball. He was a part of the team Brooklyn Dodgers, and he won the title of Rookie of the Year. Another famous American African is Althea Gibson. She was the first Black athlete to play in international tennis. She went on to win the first Grand Slam title as an American African.
There are many well-known Black businessmen across the globe. For example, Madam C. J. Walker came from a cotton farm in Louisiana. She became a successful business owner through her hair care product line. Next on our list is the Oscar Winner, Hattie McDaniel. She was the first African American performer to win the Academy Award. Her work in “Gone with the Wind” got her this award. The most famous Black billionaires are Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan.
Politicians and Population Growth
In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to hold high office. He became president of the United States. Where he served the American community and led the nation to success. Then in 2021, Kamala Harris became the first Black woman to hold office as the USA’s vice president. Highlighting the presence of American Africans in the government. That too, in the higher offices.
Moreover, the population of Black Americans was 4.8 million in 1870. This grew to reach 46.9 million in 2020. Thus, the number of people identifying with more than one race increased by +276% in the last 10 years.
Now we know about the history of American Africans. Their struggles, achievements, and success stories. If you wish to learn more, follow the famous Black author Thomas Jones. He discusses his struggle against oppression in the Thomas Jones Biography. So read his memoir, From Willard Straight to Wall Street, to learn more about the Black history.