Column, Vernon Whitmore
Celebrated in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Black History Month is an important annual commemoration of African American history and people. It began in 1926 with historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, who wanted to encourage the study of the lives, the culture, and the events of the African diaspora.
Originally known as Black History Week, it was celebrated in the second week of February to recognize the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. In 1976 the United States government officially recognized Black History Month as part of the Bicentennial celebration.
Local churches, schools, and organizations celebrate the month of February with various events, making this a joyous month for African Americans. The question is – why just February? Every year I hear someone ask this question.
We must do better. After the events and speeches end, things go back to normal. Many other ethnic groups have, for example, weekend classes that educate their youth on the culture, language, and history of their ancestors year-round. We need to do more of the same.
Black Voice News publisher Hardy Brown once wrote, “There is a saying that we say all the time when we as a people want to make a point of importance: ‘If you don’t know your history you are doomed to repeat it.’” I encourage us all to learn the history of our ancestors through the ages.
I intend to celebrate Black history all year long by incorporating facts from African American history in the United States and Richmond into my future columns. I hope that you’ll find ways of your own to celebrate all year as well.