FEBRUARY BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION
The history of Black History Month began in 1915 in Chicago, at a nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation. Carter Godwin Woodson, an author, journalist and historian, attended the celebration, after traveling from Washington, DC. He was an exhibitor at the event, with a Black History display.
There was a three-week celebration in progress, overflowing the Chicago Coliseum. Woodson decided to pioneer an organization that would promote the scientific study of black life and history. He formed this organization with A.L. Jackson and a few other people, and they called it the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson was passionate about promoting the achievements of black people. In 1920, he took up the cause and urged black civic organizations and his fraternity brothers in Omega Psi Phi to create Negro History and Literature Week, later called Negro Achievement Week. In 1925, he sent out a press release announcing that Negro History Week would begin in February 1926.
February was chosen for a number of reasons. First, because Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both prominent leaders in changing black history, have birthdays celebrated in February. Honoring these great men was one reason for the choice. In keeping the commemorative week around those dates, Woodson was building a tradition of study and learning more about black history.
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