Thursday, July 20, 2006

What is Black History Month?

Dr. Carter G. Woodson established 'Negro History Week' in the United States in 1926. The aim was to encourage young African-Americans to become productive citizens of their country by providing them with a strong knowledge of their past. Dr. Woodson is reported to often have said that he hoped the time would come when 'Negro History Week' would be unnecessary; when all Americans would willingly recognise the contributions of Black Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the history of their country.

'Negro History Week' was originally held in the second week of February, a month of significance because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. This eventually grew to become Black History Month.

In Britain, Black History Month is celebrated in October and often encompasses the histories of a range of Black and Minority Ethnic communities.

Why do we need Black History Month?

Black History Month is an opportunity to recognise, commemorate and celebrate the contribution of Black and Minority Ethnic people's contributions to the Britain we all live in today. Additionally, Black History Month provides Black and Minority Ethnic individuals and communities a sense of identity, a sense of heritage and a sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, communities benefit from learning from our past in order to build a better future. Black History Month, like any other celebration of learning, should be embraced as a reflective time, shedding light on areas of history which have hitherto been overlooked or forgotten.


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