History of Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual observance in February, celebrating the past and present achievements of African Americans. In February 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, proposed the establishment of “Negro History Week” to honor the history and contributions of African Americans to American life. Dr. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History”, chose the second week of February because it commemorates the birthdays of two men who greatly affected the African American community: Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). Negro History Week became Black History Week in the early 1970’s. In 1976, the week-long observance was expanded to a month in honor of the nation’s bicentennial.

Black History Month is sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The Association was founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter Woodson–historian, teacher, author and publisher. Each year the Association designates the national theme for Black History Month. The 2017 theme is “The Crisis in Black Education.”- Copyright © 2017 County of Los Angeles Public Library

Suggested Reading List


The Black Presidency by Michael Eric Dyson

The Illegal : a Novel by Lawrence Hill

Jonah‘s Gourd Vine : a Novel by Zora Neale Hurston
Mama Flora’s Family: A Novel by Alex Haley and David Stevens
 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Native Son by Richard Wright
And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Beloved : a Novel by Toni Morrison