February is Black History Month

By Joe Provenzano

Multimedia Reporter

Most Americans think of February as a time of romance as many celebrate Valentine’s Day by showering their loved ones with flowers and boxes of chocolates.  However, the whole of February has a deeper meaning, as it is also Black History Month also known as African American History Month.

The concept was created as a time of remembrance and celebration for the memory of those who endeavored to raise Black Americans above the shadowed past of slavery and reach a place of equal footing with other Americans in the pursuit of freedom.

The concept of Black History Month originated in 1915, half a century after the Civil War ended, when historian Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland got together and formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.  Their purpose in creating the organization was to study and make people aware of African Americans in history.

The association announced Negro History Week in 1925 and chose the week in February that covered Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas’ birthdays.  It was first celebrated in 1926.

Negro History Week gained immediate popularity and continued until 1976 when President Ford, during part of the Bicentennial, made February officially Black History Month.  It should be noted that many U.S. colleges had already adopted the month long celebration since 1960.

Since its creation, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History continues to spread the news about Black Americans in history, though now they are known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).  If you would like to learn more about Black History Month and the ASALH you may visit their website at www.asalh.org.

This year’s theme for Black History Month is “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.”

Traditionally, DMACC Ankeny has supported Black History Month by holding several events throughout the month.  Unfortunately due to the recession and budget cuts there wasn’t an opportunity to do as much this year.  DMACC Ankeny is committed to furthering awareness though and supports all minorities through the efforts of the Diversity Commission.  Its vision is “To create a culture in which all people are valued and supported, and to celebrate the similarities and differences among us. In doing so, we will prepare the DMACC community to live, to learn, and to work together in a global society.”  To learn more about the DMACC Diversity Commission and events they coordinate throughout the various DMACC campuses visit https://go.dmacc.edu/diversity/commission/Pages/welcome.aspx.

 

You may also learn more information by visiting the following websites:

www.history.com/topics/black-history-month

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