“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.”
- Carter G. Woodson
These words provide justification and reasoning for the acknowledgement of Black people, icons, achievements, and culture that we observe during Black History Month. This month-long event evolved from Negro History Week, launched in 1962, to celebrate the emancipation and achievements of Black-identified people in the United States. Since then, it has become a cultural phenomenon that allows institutions to focus on an accurate and proper telling of African American history. This acknowledgement of Black history goes beyond slavery by recognising the luxuries, achievements and discoveries that Black people have gifted to the United States and the world at large. This annual tradition provides other races and ethnicities the opportunity to learn about the diverse and eclectic nature of the Black experience by introducing them to ideas, rhetoric, and notable figures that have helped shape Black identity and America as a whole.
The fact that February is designated as Black History month does not stop us from celebrating Black history throughout the year, but we have committed to spending this month to placing a spotlight on the accomplishments and stories of Black people. In years prior, Black History Month inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations as well as dramatically expand the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of Black history. It continues to do so even now as everyday Black people exist and are thriving, Black history is being made and celebrated somewhere in the world. Isn’t that just grand?