By Grace Allensworth
Photo by University of Carolina Central University
Black History Month
Black History Month is a month celebrating those of African-American heritage by recognizing important African-American figures from history. We do this as a way to commemorate the many African-American people who fought and struggled for civil rights in America, like highly recognizable Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Park.
This monthly tradition was started by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which at first merely sponsored a week in 1926 that fell on the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. The month was originally first recognized as Black History month in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, as a way to recognize the actions of African-American heroes that had yet to become recognized.
Something less known by the entire United States public is that every month is assigned a theme. This year the theme is “African Americans and the Vote”, to celebrate the Nineteenth Amendment being established in 1920, as well as the Fifteenth Amendment being established in 1870. After the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, establishing the right of African-American men to vote, most newly freed men made some great political strides.
To combat this, “black codes” were designed, eliminating African-American voters and kicking them off of legislation boards. We celebrate them overcoming this struggle, earning the true right to vote and run for office. In the 1950s and 1960s, when the Civil Rights Movement was really underway, many others sprung forth from it. We celebrate this world-renowned movement, learning the history of others long ago and coming to terms with our struggles.