Black History Month is a holiday that honors the contributions of African-Americans to U.S. history. The origins and facts of Black History Month are not as familiar as other holidays.
Here are some unique facts you may not know:
1. It is not just for black people.
Though it celebrates the achievements of black people worldwide, it does not limit the people who can observe the holiday.
Dunique Charles, a senior studying apparel entrepreneurship, has brought BYU-Idaho students together to perform a number of dances in honor of the occasion.
“It is a misconception that is exclusive only to African-Americans,” Charles said. “It would be wonderful if everyone in America would celebrate it with us.”
2. It all started with Negro History Week.
The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African-American historian, scholar, educator and publisher.
3. Why in the month of February?
According to History, Woodson chose February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. The celebration was extended to the entire month in 1976.
4. African-Americans protested for civil rights against slavery far before the 1800s.
The Quakers, or the Religious Society of Friends, were one of the earliest groups to protest slavery.
In a 1688 declaration against slavery, they invoked the golden rule, writing, “we should do unto others as we would have done onto ourselves.”
According to PBS, “They saw the slave trade as a grave injustice against their fellow man.”
5. Black History Month has a different theme each year.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History announced “the 2018 theme, ‘African Americans in Times of War,’ commemorates the centennial of the end of the First World War in 1918 and explores the complex meanings and implications of this international struggle and its aftermath. … Those very concepts provide an understanding for focusing on the roles of African-Americans in every American war, from the Revolutionary War era to the present ‘War against Terrorism.'”
6. Black History Month unites more countries than just the United States.
The United States is not the only country to celebrate. Canada and the United Kingdom later joined to honor the achievements of African-Americans.
7. Black History Month had intentions of improving educational curriculum.
According to Facts, Carter G. Woodson was challenged by his college professor to justify black history as an important topic to study.
While promoting scholarly research, he also had to share his knowledge to educate younger generations. Black History Month then became about making amends between scholars and poor students.
“This holiday represents unity with everyone,” Charles said. “We invite everyone to dive deeper and learn about African culture. It’s about knowing your self-worth — I am proud of my ancestors’ achievements and am proud of who I am and where I come from.”
There will be a Black History Month dance show on Feb. 23 in the Manwaring Center Little Theater at 8 p.m. Various types of dances will be performed for all to enjoy.