February is Black History Month! Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Black History Month began in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
Carter G. Woodson is considered a pioneer in the study of African-American history and is given much of the credit for Black History Month. Woodson is the son of former enslaved people and spent his childhood in coal mines and quarries. At the age of 19, Woodson taught himself English fundamentals and arithmetic. He went on to earn his master's degree in history from the University of Chicago and later earned a doctorate from Harvard.
Woodson took on the challenge of writing Black American history into our nation's history. He established first a week dedicated to Black history, which later expanded into Black History Month in 1976.
Woodson chose February to represent Black History Month because it marks two birthdays of men who greatly influenced the Black American population. Frederick Douglas, who escaped slavery and became a civil rights leader, and President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in America's confederate states.
For Woodson's dedication and work in recognizing Black Americans' contributions to our history today, he is credited as the Father of Black History Month.