By Gisselle Guerrero
Black History Month is celebrated every year in February to recognize the central role of distinguished African Americans in US history. Ever since 1976, every US President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
The celebration began five years after the 13th amendment abolished slavery in 1915. That year, in the month of September, historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). ASNLH is an organization that was formed to focus on researching and promoting the achievements by black Americans and other people of African descent. Today we know that ASNLH sponsored a “National Negro History Week,” in 1926, the second week of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. This event was the inspiration for schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations as well as to establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
Camryn Johnson, a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt mentioned, “Every month we celebrate something new we’ve accomplished and how far we have come and that is what makes Black History Month important to the growth of America.”
Black History Month was officially recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. He announced to the public, “Seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Ms. Johnson even said, “Black people have been a part of America in many ways.”
Since President Ford made it official, there has been a specific theme advocated to Black History by the American President in office at the time. This year’s theme is, “African Americans in Times of War.” 2018 is the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The theme honors the endless roles that black Americans have played in combat, dating back all the way from the American Revolution to their present day military involvement.