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  • Writer's pictureDoctor Detroit

Black History Month

Updated: Mar 13

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

During Black History Month, it's inevitable that someone asks me about black history—its origins, its significance, and why it's in February, the shortest month of the year.

Black History Month originally began as a week-long celebration of black culture and achievements in February 1926. It was conceived by Harvard historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who first proposed the idea in 1925. Dr. Woodson chose February because it coincided with the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

At that time, many believed that black Americans had no place in history; their contributions were often overlooked or dismissed. Jim Crow laws enforced segregation and racial discrimination, further marginalizing the black community. Dr. Woodson sought to challenge this narrative and celebrate the significant achievements and contributions of black Americans to the nation's development.

As the father of Black History, Dr. Carter G. Woodson emphasized the importance of recognizing that there is only one history, comprising all races and cultures. Each piece is essential to completing the puzzle of our collective past.

It wasn't until 1976 that President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month as a national observance.

I often find myself torn about Black History Month. On one hand, I appreciate the opportunity it provides for reflection, celebration, and learning. On the other hand, it's disheartening that such a dedicated time is necessary. Here's to the day when all races are recognized and celebrated as part of the human race, and history is embraced as just that—history.


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