5 Facts worth knowing about BHM
Millions of Americans gather in celebration of Black History Month every year. But, many Americans still don’t know the history, the lengths that the founder went through, and the fight that it took to get Black History Month recognized. Here are 5 facts about Black history month that you may or may not have known.
- Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Black History Month, first had the idea of celebrating Black history. Woodson was born in 1875 to newly freed Virginian slaves. He later earned a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He worried that Black children were not being taught about their ancestors’ achievements in American schools in the early 1900s.
- The month of February was picked for Black History Month because it contained the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, and Douglass, a former slave who did not know his precise birthday, celebrated his date of birth on Feb. 14.
- Canada also commemorates Black History Month in February. Although Black Canadians are approximately 3.5% of the country’s total population, community leaders and activists still celebrate the historical achievements of the Black community. Canadian politicians Jean Augustine and Donald Oliver were instrumental in getting Black History Month officially recognized in the country by 2008
- At the time of Negro History Week’s launch in 1926, Woodson believed the teaching of Black history was key to the physical and intellectual survival of the race: “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” he said in part, as the Journal of Negro History reported.
- The 2023 theme for Black History Month is resistance; past themes have included Black health and wellness, family, migration, and Black women in American culture and history, among others.