Celebrating Black History Month: The How’s, When’s, and Why’s

Celebrating Black History Month: The Hows, Whens, and Whys

America is known as the melting pot of the United States. With a diversity of people from different cultures, we’ve come far from being only 13 colonies. However, a minority that has been in the majority of American history has been African-Americans. This week, I’ll be talking about the importance of Black History Month and why it shouldn’t be disregarded as just another holiday, but instead, embraced as an event that lasts more than just the month of February.

TIME for Kids | Abraham Lincoln

When the Thirteenth Amendment was passed, in January 31, 1865, it abolished slavery in the United States, and half a century later in September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures. (History.com). Coincidentally, The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

However, since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. This year’s theme, “Black Health and Wellness”, coordinates how we all feel gratitude toward medical practitioners and healthcare workers, as the meaning of this theme states, “the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.” (History.com). This theme is perfect as it encourages us to support healthcare workers of all races for all the work they’ve done for us and for supporting the American people during this time.

While black history has an entire month dedicated to it, that should not stop us from discussing the topic outside February. Celebrating and honoring a tradition helps us understand our culture as well, and also a door of inclusivity to burst through. It is so important to honor people of all cultures because without them and their traditions, we as a society wouldn’t be so knowledgeable about how other people work. Why else would America be called a “Melting Pot” if we didn’t have people of different ethnicities settling in our nation?