In a few days, we will come to the end of what would be the 44th year of celebrating Black History Month. The historical celebration began in 1924 after Dr.Carter G. Woodson believed that African Americans were not being taught enough about the history and accomplishments of their ancestors.
Woodson turned to his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, to help him get the message of ‘Negro History Week’ out, spreading negro history and literature for a week in February of 1924. Out of all months in a year, Woodson chose February because of the birthdays of both Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Schools and organizations across the nation took in Woodson’s initiative. However, Woodson had a hard time finding course materials and building a curriculum. This led Woodson to believe that a week of celebration was simply not enough to cut down the achievements of ancestors into. In the early 1940s, Woodson begins to make efforts to expand Negro History Week.
On April 3rd, 1950 Dr. Carter G. Woodson, died of a heart attack. With Black history still being prominent in the community, and civil rights and The Black Panthers coming to light in the 1960s, more people began to agree with the notion that Negro History Week should be expanded. On the 50th anniversary of the celebrated week, the Association for the Study of African American History would officially shift the week of celebration, to a month, giving February as we know today, Black History Month.