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 8, 1986
Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.
February 8, 1986
Figure Skater Debi Thomas wins Woman’s Singles
Figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African American to win the Women’s Singles of the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship competition, was a pre-med student at Stanford University.
February 9, 1952
Invisible Man wins award
Author Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man wins the National Book Award. Invisible Man is a novel by Ralph Ellison, published by Random House in 1952. It addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans early in the twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity as well as issues of individuality and personal identity.
February 10, 1964
After 12 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House
1964 After 12 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by a vote of 290-130. The bill prohibited any state or local government or public facility from denying access to anyone because of race or ethnic origin. It further gave the U.S. Attorney General the power to bring school desegregation law suits. The bill allowed the federal government the power to bring school desegregation law suits and to cut off federal funds to companies or states who discriminated. It forbade labor organizations or interstate commercial companies from discriminating against workers due to race or ethnic origins. Lastly, the federal government could compile records of denial of voting rights. After passage in the House, the bill went to the Senate, which after 83 days of debate passed a similar package on June 19 by a vote of 73 to 27. President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation on July 2.
February 11, 1961
Robert Weaver sworn in
Robert Weaver sworn in as administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, highest federal post to date by a Black American.
February 12, 1909
Founded in 1909 in New York City by a group of black and white citizens committed to social justice, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s largest and strongest civil rights organization. The NAACP’s principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate race prejudice. The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes. This mission is accomplished by seeking the enactment and enforcement of federal, state and local laws securing civil rights, and by informing the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination. From school desegregation, fair housing, employment and voter registration, to health and equal economic opportunity, the NAACP, working successfully with allies of all races, plays a significant role in establishing legal precedents in order to improve the quality of life of America’s downtrodden. For more than ninety one years, the NAACP has been built on the individual and collective courage of thousands of people.
February 13, 1957
Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized
Southern Christian Leadership Conference organized at New Orleans meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. as president. SCLC is an African-American Civil Rights Organization.
February 14, 1936
National Negro Congress organized at Chicago
National Negro Congress organized at Chicago meeting attended by 817 delegates representing more than 500 organizations. Asa Phillip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was elected president of the new organization.
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.
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