Black History Month

Main Content

Black History Month

History of Black History Month


Black History Month is an annual observance in February, celebrating the past and present achievements of African Americans. In February 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, proposed the establishment of "Negro History Week" to honor the history and contributions of African Americans to American life. Dr. Woodson, known as the "Father of Black History", chose the second week of February because it commemorates the birthdays of two men who greatly affected the African American community: Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). Negro History Week became Black History Week in the early 1970's. In 1976, the week-long observance was expanded to a month in honor of the nation's bicentennial.

Black History Month is sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The Association was founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter Woodson--historian, teacher, author and publisher. Each year the Association designates the national theme for Black History Month. The 2017 theme is: The Crisis in Black Education

2017 Black History Month Planning Committee:

  1. Anna Jackson, Lecturer, History Department
  2. Jasmine Easter, President, Association of Black Psychologists Student Circle
  3. Dr. Joseph Brown, Professor, Africana Studies
  4. Kianna Hurd, President, SIU Chapter, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  5. Dr. Lanel Love, Chair, Assistant Director, Student Multicultural Resource Center
  6. Dr. Leonard Gadzekpo, Associate Professor, Africana Studies
  7. Marissa Jackson, President, Black Affairs Council
  8. Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, Professor, School of Art and Design
  9. Dr. Novotny Lawrence, Associate Professor, Radio, Television, and Digital Media
  10. Dr. Pamela Smoot, Director, College of Liberal Arts
  11. Salena Pierre, Co-Chair, Student Coordinator, Black Resource Center
  12. Shadashalin Pierce, President, Black Togetherness Organization
  13. Tiffany Player, Lecturer, History Department