Black History Month celebrates contributions made by African Americans and people of African descent around the world. It was started by an African American man named Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926.  Back then, it was called Negro History Week and was celebrated the second week of February.  Now it is celebrated for the whole month of February in the United States and Canada, and the month of October in the United Kingdom.

Why was Black History Month started?

Dr. Woodson studied African American culture and encouraged other people to study it, too. He felt it was important for people to recognize the great contributions black people have made. He devoted his life to educating people as a teacher, a writer, and a publisher. He was also a political activist who worked to make sure the government treated African Americans fairly.

Negro History Week was set for the second week in February to celebrate the birthdays of two people who worked hard for African Americans: Abraham Lincoln, the white president who freed the slaves, and Frederick Douglass, the first African American Vice Presidential nominee.

Negro History Week became Black History Month in 1976, in celebration of our nation’s 200th birthday.

Black History Month is intended to honor the contributions, milestones, and achievements made by and for people of African heritage.