Our campus annually celebrates Black History Month by offering enriching conversations, presentations and showcases that provide varied perspectives on the lives of Black people from the African Diaspora living in the United States and the world.
This year, the Office of Academic Affairs has invited two internationally known people to serve as keynote speakers:
- Dr. Nikki Giovanni, internationally renowned poet, writer and social justice activist
- Dr. Mathew Knowles, internationally known music executive, talent manager and entrepreneur
We are sponsoring several other events to celebrate Black History Month.
History of Black History Month
An annual observance, Black History Month, also referred to as African American History Month, originated in the United States. This observance of the lives and contributions of Blacks people in America started as a way to recognize people of the African diaspora in the nation building of America.
Beyond the United States, the annual celebration has received official recognition in Canada and has also been observed in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands.
February is designated as Black History Month in the United States and Canada with the observance taking place in October throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
Black History Month: A Beginning (1926)
Before there was Black History Month, there was “Negro History Week” created in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
Recorded history tells us that this particular week may have been selected for the observance because of two persons’ birthdays: Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12). While both birthdays were individually celebrated, dating back to the 19th century, the creation of Negro History Week was for many the synthesis of the two observances.
One of the main impetuses for Negro History Week was to encourage teaching the history of Black Americans in U.S. public schools. Initially, this platform was met with very small success. Initially, only a few Departments of Education in North Carolina, Delaware, and West Virginia along with a few city school administrators in Baltimore and Washington, D. C. taught Black history in schools.
Black History Month evolved from Negro History Week in February 1969 with a proposal by Black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, from Jan. 2 to Feb. 28, 1970. Many events of the first Black History Month celebration took place in the Kuumba House, the first Black Culture Center of the Black United Students at Kent State University.