Black History Month


Courtesy of the City of Southfield

February honors Black History Month, a time to commemorate the black figures and events in several countries.

Anita Tun, Photojournalist

February commemorates Black History Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments throughout history made by African American figures in the United States. Also called African American month, it has been honored by every U.S. president since 1976, dedicating February as Black History Month. 

Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and this group started National Negro week in 1926 to honor Black figures. National Negro week was celebrated on the second week of February because it was between President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and American abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ birthday.

In the late 1960s, the civil rights movement’s rise made Negro History Week grow into Black History Month on multiple college campuses across the United States. Therefore, by 1976, President Gerald Ford was the first president to commemorate February for Black History Month to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

Since its founding in 1975, there has been a specific theme assigned to the special month. For 2021, the Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,” which explores African diaspora, and now other countries have joined the United States in celebrating Black History Month. This includes countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, with other countries continuing to join. 

At Yorba Linda High School (YLHS), one way Black History Month has been promoted is by Instagram. For instance, on the “ylhsmustangs” account, the commissioner of diversity has worked to have a post on sharing facts about Black History Month and figures such as Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks. 

The “ylhsarts” account has also celebrated Black History Month by honoring black artists and their accomplishments. For instance, they have included the “Queen of Jazz” Ella Fitzgerald, contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Camille Khong (10) speaks what Black History Month means to her as “though I am not black many others and I strive to be allies to the community because for years and years their voices go unheard. It is pertinent that we should all elevate the stories that go untold.”

Other ways to celebrate Black History Month are the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is offering digital programming. Also, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has provided guidance to businesses to find the best way to honor Black History Month. 

Therefore, Black History Month is a time to honor the individuals and events of the African Diaspora so their achievements will not be forgotten.