Wednesday, October 4, 2023

How Black History Month came to be


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Featured Graphic by Destiny Mizell

Story by Lillian Chapman

For 47 years, February has been designated as Black History Month. In this month, African American accomplishments are celebrated along with recognizing the important role they have played in American history.  

The Association for the Study of African American Life started honoring the achievements of African Americans in 1926. Originally, this celebration was held the second week of February between Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas’ Birthdays. Small communities organized local gatherings and lectures to help spread awareness for the civil rights movements and black oppression during this specific week. Soon, colleges and high schools began to recognize this celebration but instead dedicated the entire month to commemorate African Americans throughout history.  

In 1976, President Gerald Ford recognized it as a national celebration and officially dedicated February as Black History Month. Other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom take part in honoring African Americans in history as well now.

Since becoming a national celebration, Black History Month has had a specific theme each year. The 2023 theme is “Black Resistance” which signifies the oppression African Americans have faced throughout history and continue to experience everyday. Black History Month not only brings awareness to these issues, but also honors those who have faced them in the past and present. Black History Month is also a celebration of culture, persistence and identity.

Lillian Chapman is a News and Lifestyles Reporter for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell, email For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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