Black History Month began as “Negro History Week” by the urging of historian Carter G. Woodson to commemorate and celebrate the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both of whom share birthdays in the same week in February. In his seminal work, The Mis-Education of the Negro, Woodson argued for the necessity of an awareness of history in our daily lives saying, “Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” It wasn’t until the late 60s when Black educators and Black student activists at Kent State University first proposed the month of February be used to reflect on the impacts of the African diaspora and celebrate Black American history and culture, that the idea of Black History Month took root and was eventually recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1975. Black History Month remains an important reminder of the crucial contributions Black scholars, activists, and leaders made throughout American history and should serve to inspire every American to work toward building a more just and equal society.
Every February, PABS hosts special events designed to highlight Black history and culture. Please check the online calendar for more details on specific events.