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Celebrating Black and African American Heritage

yellow background, top right has a green circle, and the bottom left has a red circle. in the center is a white rectangle. on the top left of the rectangle is a white flower with vines, and on the bottom right of the rectangle is a red flower with vines. in the center appears text that reads "celebrate black and african american heritage!" and underneath is text that swipes right that reads "february first to march first"

What is Black and African American Heritage Month?

As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson’s death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid-century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all colors on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year. [Source: African American History Month]

What is the difference between Black and African American?

A Black person is described as “of or relating to any of various population groups having dark pigmentation of the skin” or “of or relating to African-American people or their culture.” A person of color has the broadest explanation as “a person who is not white or of European parentage.” The term ‘African-American’ is typically used to describe ethnicity while ‘Black’ often describes race. For example, Black people who live in America but are from other parts of the world other than Africa may not identify as African-American. However, those factions of people may still consider ‘Black’ to be their identity.

Greg Carr, an associate professor and the chair of Howard University’s Department of Afro-American Studies, said despite the dictionary definitions, there’s no term that truly describes people that were taken from Africa and forced into slavery. [Source: WUSA TV]

Celebrating Black and African American Heritage

Some honor and celebrate Black and African American Heritage Month by donating to Black and African American charities, eating food from any of the countries that are being celebrated, learning from their cultures, and honoring influential Black and African American figures who have made an impact on our society. Below are some ways you can celebrate with us!

red background, in the center is a bag of money, and beneath it reads "donate to black charities" orange background, in the center is a drawing of ribs, and underneath reads "traditional black foods" green background, in the top left is a young black woman with an afro wearing a pink shirt and overalls, and on the right is an african person wearing traditional robes and jewelry, and underneath these images reads "influential black and african american figures"

green background, in the center is a boom box, and underneath reads "history of black people's influence on music" yellow background, in the center is a set of hands eating food in a dish, and underneath it reads "traditional african foods"

Check out TV Shows, Documentaries, Movies, and Music:

Black History Month Playlist Listen on Spotify!
When They See Us (2019) Watch on Netflix!
#blackAF (2020) Watch on Netflix!
Dear White People (2017) Watch on Netflix!
Moonlight (2016) Watch on Netflix!
13th (2016) Watch on Netflix!
Becoming (2020) Watch on Netflix!
Who Killed Malcolm X? (2020) Watch on Netflix!
I Am Not Your Negro (2017) Watch on Netflix!
One Night in Miami (2021) Watch on Amazon Prime!
Judas and the Black Messiah (2020) Watch on HBO Max!
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017) Watch on HBO Max!