Black History Month: 5 interesting facts about the annual observance

Negro History Week launched in 1926

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass | Wikimedia Commons

As part of his efforts to spread awareness of African American history, Woodson launched Negro History Week in 1926, selecting a week in February that included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14).

According to historian Sarah Bair, the stated goals of the observance were “developing and distributing high-quality resources on African American history, stimulating interest and an appetite for further study and understanding among both Blacks and Whites, and creating a forum in which educators around the country could share ideas and practices.”

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The inaugural Negro History Week was celebrated by several schools and communities, with the annual observance growing in popularity over the next few decades and eventually expanding to include the entire month of February by the 1960s.

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