Black History Month
Carter G. Woodson, an African-American historian, author, journalist and founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, has been called the father of black history.1 The son of former slaves, he was the first to propose an observance to honor the accomplishments of black Americans.
In February 1926, Negro History Week was established to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass (an African American social reformer, orator, writer, statesman and former slave).2 It has since evolved, expanded and become known as Black History Month, with observances in The United States and Canada in February, and the United Kingdom in October.
Woodson believed that African-American contributions “were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.”3 Black History Week, now month, was his attempt to change that and to celebrate the accomplishments, traditions and culture of his people. It’s an important and meaningful celebration that endures to this day.
What can you and your family do to mark Black History Month?
- Check your city or town’s website to see if there are any official events being held near you. Often libraries and museums have special exhibits, films, classes and presentations running through the month of February.
- Check local community centre and cultural centre websites to see if they are doing anything special to celebrate.
- Read works by black authors. This Forbes article lists 10 African-American authors everyone should read.
- Make a dove of peace craft with your children or grandchildren as a reminder to live peacefully and in unity with people of all different cultures.
- Research African-American foods and try making some new recipes for your family, like peanut soup or Hoppin’ John. Get your children or grandchildren involved and use it as an opportunity to talk about black history.
For more information on Black History Month, including this year’s special focus, visit The Government of Canada’s website. In the US, visit African American History Month. In the UK visit Black History Month 2013.
For additional ideas for celebrating Black History Month with children, visit Family Education.com
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