Making Black History Month Relevant

With Black History Month (BHM) rapidly approaching, I want to take this opportunity to address: 1.) The purpose and background of BHM  (2. The limited ways in which we typically use this month  3.) How to make BHM more relevant and empowering


Carter Godwin Woodson, founder of Black History Month, scholar, author and institution-builder

What we now refer to as Black History Month began as “Negro History Week.” Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard University graduate and history professor, began this commemoration in 1926. He was frustrated by the absence of scholarship and discussion about Black people’s contributions to America and the world. He hoped that NHW would fill this void.

A common belief among Black people is that whites created Black History Month in February because it is the “shortest and coldest month of the year.” Actually, Woodson  designated the second week of February to honor the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two people he believed were great emancipators of Black people. The first recorded celebration of Black History Month was in February of 1970 by Black students at Kent State University. By 1976, America’s Bicentennial, the government officially “recognized” this change from Negro History Week to Black History Month, however Black people began this tradition before…”;  Read more here

Re-blogged from:

Article Author:  Agyei Tyehimba

is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. Agyei has appeared on C-SpanNY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Mr. Tyehimba is a professional consultant and public speaker providing political advice and direction for Black college student organizations, community activist groups, and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at



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