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Avellon Williams 

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO- This month marks the celebration of African American achievements and their central role in the history of the United States; Wednesday, February 1, to Wednesday, March 1, 2023, “Black Resistance”.

Known also as African American History Month, this event grew from “Negro History Week,” created by notable historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. February has been recognized as Black History Month by every U.S. president since 1976. The United Kingdom and Canada also celebrate Black history for a month every year.

A brief history of Black History Month

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After the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States in 1865, Black History Month began in 1915.

An organization dedicated to researching and promoting the achievements of Black Americans and other peoples of African descent, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) was founded in September by the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland.

This group, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), established an annual national Negro History Week in 1926 on the day of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. As a result of the event, schools and communities across the country organized local celebrations, established history clubs, and hosted performances and lectures.

Did you know? In 1909, on February 12, the NAACP was founded on the centennial anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

Abraham Lincoln /Image, TC/

It was only a matter of years before mayors in cities across the country began proclamations “Negro History Week” yearly. As a result of the civil rights movement and an increased awareness of Black identity, “Negro History Week” evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses by the late 1960s.

It was in 1976 that President Ford officially recognized Black History Month, urging the public to “honor the achievements of African Americans in every field throughout our history that are too often neglected.”

In today’s society, Black History Month recognizes the contributions and legacy of African Americans across history and society—from civil rights pioneers and activists like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, to leaders in the fields of politics, science, and culture.

2023 Black History Month Theme

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Black History Month has been recognized by every American president since 1976, with each president endorsing a different theme each year.

Black History Month 2023 theme, “Black Resistance,” explores how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially lynchings, racial pogroms, and police killings, since its inception. 

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Avellon Williams

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