Celebrating “Black History Month”
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
February 15, 1968
On this day Henry Lewis becomes the first African American to lead a symphony orchestra in the United States.
February 15, 1848
Sarah Roberts barred from white school in Boston
Sarah Roberts barred from white school in Boston. Her father, Benjamin Roberts, filed the first school integration suit on her behalf.
February 16, 1951
New York City Council passes bill prohibiting racial discrimination
New York City Council passed bill prohibiting racial discrimination in city-assisted housing developments.
February 17, 1942
Black Panther Party Founder Born
Black Panther Party Founder Huey P. Newton born. An illiterate high-school graduate, Newton taught himself how to read before attending Merritt College in Oakland and the San Francisco School of Law, where he met Seale. In Oakland in 1966 they formed the Black Panther group in response to incidents of police brutality and racism and as an illustration of the need for black self-reliance. At the height of its popularity during the late 1960s, the party had 2,000 members in chapters in several cities. In 1967 Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of a police officer, but his conviction was overturned 22 months later, and he was released from prison. In 1974 he was accused of another murder and fled to Cuba for three years before returning to face charges; two trials resulted in hung juries. Newton received a Ph.D in social philosophy from the University of California at Santa Cruz (1980); his dissertation, ‘War Against the Panthers’ was subtitled ‘A Study of Repression in America.’ Succumbing to factionalism and pressure from government agencies, the party disbanded in 1982. In March 1989 Newton was sentenced to a six-month jail term for misappropriating public funds intended for a Panther-founded Oakland school. In August of that year he was found shot dead on a street in Oakland.
February 18, 1896
H. Grenon patents razor stropping device
Grenon, H. Razor Stropping Device Feb. 18, 1896 Patent No. 554,867
February 19, 1942
Tuskegee Airmen initiated
The Army Air Corps’ all African American 100th Pursuit Squadron, later designated a fighter squadron, was activated at Tuskegee Institute. The squadron served honorably in England and in other regions of the European continent during World War II.
February 20, 1895
Death of Frederick Douglass (78), Anacostia
Death of Frederick Douglass (78), Anacostia Heights, District of Columbia. Douglass was the leading Black spokesman for almost fifty years. He was a major abolitionist and a lecturer and editor.
February 21, 1965
Malcolm X (39) assassinated in Audubon Ballroom at
Malcolm X (39) assassinated in Audubon Ballroom at a rally of his organization. Three Blacks were later convicted of the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Knowing our own history, or the history of our culture, is important because it helps us to know who we are while molding the future. Being familiar with past events gives us the ability not only to learn from past mistakes but also from the successes.
To me, the omission of any group from history teachings results in a limited understanding of history’s relationship with the present and future. Know your history.
Comments, I can be reached at: