The History of Black History

The African Slave Trade

The heritage and experience of African Americans that typically dates back to the mid 1500's when Black people were captured in Africa and brought against their will to America to become slaves.

After nearly 400 years of slavery and dehumanization, African Americans were eventually freed but were oppressed, discriminated against, and were initially not even recognized as legal citizens of the United States.

From the 1920's to the 1970's, African Americans had to fight for basic civil rights including the right to vote, to earn fair wages, to live in decent housing, and to marry outside of their race. During this time period, they were heavily discriminated against and sometimes brutally attacked and killed by white supremacists. Most notably, famous civil rights leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. where assassinated for fighting for the cause.

From the 1980's and ongoing even in recent times, African Americans have become victims to institutionalized racism which often manifests itself in workplace discrimination, housing discrimination, predatory lending from major banks, lack of diversity in television and film, college enrollment discrimination, lack of funding in communities where mostly Black people live, police harassment and brutality, and high incarceration rates of African American men.

The Origins of Black History Month

Black History Month, celebrated during the month of February each year, is a time where African American history makers are remembered and celebrated. The monthly-celebration is observed internationally in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

In 1976, U.S. President Gerald Ford issued the first Black History Month commemoration making it an official government-recognized celebration. The precursor to Black History Month was Negro History Week, which was created in the year 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.