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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Beginnings of Black History Month

Popularized in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson to honor Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays and to foster understanding among races, Negro History Week gained popularity among young African Americans in the 1960s. Lectures and gatherings in schools and public establishments grew considerably, and in 1976, the Federal government recognized “Black History Month” as an official expansion of Negro History Week.

On the campus of Kent University, a group of students known as the Black United Students extended the short week into Black History month in 1969. The first university-wide celebration of Black History month took place in 1970.  

The impact that Kent University students made on Black History Month has supported its evolution to become an international holiday celebrated in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Prominent celebrations occur in schools and on college campuses, educating students globally about the influence of African American history on the United States.

 Throughout February, NSHSS has recognized leaders in history in honor of Black History Month including Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 100 Days of Nonviolence initiative that honors his legacy today; Nelson Mandela; and Frederick Douglass. 

We have enjoyed hearing your stories about the actions you, your peers, and your school have taken while celebrating this special month. Kyle Rugletic, president of his senior class at Northeast High School in Pennsylvania, has put together a Black History Month program during school assembly. This program will feature students who will perform, explore, and read poetry by famous African Americans who have made an impact in history. “Our school takes real pride in celebrating and enriching Black History Month through these programs. I am rather excited,” stated Kyle. NSHSS Ambassador, Terran Dixon has also been engaging fellow scholars via Facebook to answer Black History Month trivia questions. 

If you have stories to share with NSHSS, please email us at to be mentioned in our next Scholar’s Journal.