Thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH), “information on the contributions of persons of African descent to our nation and world is currently taught in universities and in many K-12 schools. Black History is featured in television documentaries and in local and national museums. It is conveyed through literature, the visual arts, and music. The great lives and material culture of Black History can be seen in national park sites and in the preservation of historic homes, buildings, and even cemeteries. Black History Month is not a token. It is a special tribute—a time of acknowledgement, of reflection, and inspiration—that comes to life in real and ongoing activities throughout the year, just as the work of ASALH has for 106 years steadily asserted both racial pride and the centrality of race and the black experience to the American narrative and heritage.”
Black History Month (BHM) was officially established in 1986, however it’s foundation can be traced back to 1915, when Woodson participated in an exhibit highlighting the progress of African Americans since the destruction of slavery. Seeing the large crowd that attended the event inspired Woodson to form an organization to promote the scientific study of black life and history, and establish a tradition of promoting achievements to serve as inspiration to the community to continue advancing civilization.
Woodson and the Association set a theme for the annual celebration, and provided content that included, pictures, lessons, plays, and posters of important dates and people. In the 1940s, slow efforts began to expand sharing of content and the accompanying celebrations of black history to the general public. By the 1960s the shift began to the establishment of the month-long celebration that takes place today.
“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”― Zora Neale Hurston
Explore the tabs in the box below to read excerpts from ASALH's "Black Resistance Executive Summary (2023)".
This year's theme of Black Resistance provides powerful examples of the resiliency of African Americans to successfully forge forward, despite having to overcome and find ways to work around chronic and constant barriers. We can all learn from this history, and we can also learn from each other. The articles below discuss resiliency in BIPOC communities, and provide perspectives to reflect upon how this can impact our own journey.