Black History Month is a yearly celebration of accomplishments by African Americans and a time for acknowledging the central role of blacks in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event cultivated out of “Negro History Week,” the creation of renowned historian Carter G. Woodson and other protuberant African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has formally elected the month of February as Black History Month.

Geneses of Black History Month

Black History Month begins in 1915, after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent preacher Jesse E. Moorland originated the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an society devoted to investigating and endorsing achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African lineage.

Recognized today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group subsidized a national Negro History week in 1926, selecting the second week of February to correspond with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event encouraged schools and communities countrywide to create local celebrations, history clubs and host performances and lectures.

Black History Month 2020 Theme

Since 1976, every American president has elected February as Black History Month and sanctioned a particular theme.

The Black History Month 2020 theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” is in honor of the centenary anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote.

In the Deep-seated Reconstruction period that followed the Civil War, newly freed black men made great civil gains, captivating office in Southern state governments and even Congress.