Published: Feb. 1, 2016

On noticing a lack of recognition of the role of African Americans in history books, son of slaves and Harvard University scholar, Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875 – 1950), founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, which later became the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). One year later, he began publishing the Journal of Negro History now known as the Journal of African American History.

Encouraged by the support he received for these achievements, Woodson organized the first annual Negro History Week in 1926 in the second week of February coinciding with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln, referred to as “The Great Emancipator”, and Frederick Douglass, called the father of the civil rights movement. The 1976 bicentennial observance saw the renaming of the Week Black History Month, 26 years after Woodson’s death.

Reflecting on Woodson’s refrain that “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” the CU-Boulder Libraries celebrates Black contribution to America-building with a selection of materials under the theme: Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories. A display of materials is by the Circulation Desk on the second floor (west entrance) and can be freely checked out.

Black History Month is also observed in Canada (since 1995) and the United Kingdom (since 1987).

Further Resources:
University of Colorado at Boulder Research and Expertise

Library of Congress African American History Resources

U.S. Department of State African American History Month

Library of Congress African American History Month Teacher Resources

Smithsonian Education Black History Teaching Resources