Melody Nyoni, Staff Writer
February is the month in which the achievements of black people are recognized and their history is paid tribute to. This celebration is held annually and honors the role of the African American people in the history of the United States particularly.
Negro History Week was founded by African American historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Woodson chose the second week of February to celebrate and share the history of black people in the United States because the birthdays of both President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass fell in this week.
Woodson intended the week to be celebrated for a few only a few years and to be done away with once black history was established as being significant to the overall history of the country. However, it was recognized officially by the federal government in 1976 under the presidency of Gerald Ford. In addition, they expanded it from a week to the entire month of February.
It is also observed by the Canadians in February and in October by the United Kingdom.
“Black History Month needs to be seen for its larger context. It’s not only for black people. It is a lens through which we can see how our society works and analyze our own role in the struggle for social justice,” said Kenza Glass, Director of the Multicultural Center at Cedar Crest College.
Cedar Crest has joined the nation in celebrating Black History Month by coordinating events across campus with different organizations being involved.
“It is very multidisciplinary, different organizations are collaborating for events this year. Which is a great way to demonstrate the broad support for multicultural issues,” said Glass.
The government has set up a website that highlights events being organized this month to highlight black history from slavery, the civil rights movement to the present day. Also highlighted are profiles of important and influential historical black figures.
Like Cedar Crest’s events, the celebration coordinated by the government is a joint effort by multiple organizations.
On the website for Black History Month, they say, “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.”
February is a special time for the African American people to embrace and share their heritage with the rest of the country.
To learn more visit: www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov. For more information on Black History Month celebrations at Cedar Crest College, please visit the Multicultural Center or contact Kenza Glass at firstname.lastname@example.org.