The History Behind Black History Month


via Naptural Roots

BLACK HISTORY MONTH — Madam C.J. Walker was one of the pioneering figures in black hair care.

Mackenzie Farner, Staff Writer

The annual recognition of black history started in 1926 as a week long celebration by Carter G. Woodson Ph.D. Later on, Woodson realized that there was very little offered in the education system about African American history, so he decided the second week in February should be used to celebrate black history since it coincides with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, two important figures in black history. The observance now spans the entire month of February.

When asked about the importance of Black History Month, African American History teacher Chris Kribs said, “Black history is American history. You cannot talk about one and ignore the other. Black History Month is about putting a spotlight on the great things that African Americans have achieved.”

In our history there have been many important African American figures who have contributed several important things to our history such as George Washington Carver, who derived nearly 300 products from the peanut, Madam C.J. Walker, the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire, Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, President Obama, America’s first African American president, and Vice President Harris, the first woman of color elected as vice president.

Madam C.J. Walker became America’s first female self-made millionaire through her line of African American hair products. She created her products after suffering from a scalp disorder that caused her own hair loss. She promoted her line by traveling around the country giving lecture-demonstrations on her products. Later on, she developed her brand Madam C.J. Walker Laboratories, where she manufactured cosmetics and trained beauticians which led to her overwhelming success.

Furthermore, Vice President Kamala Harris has made waves throughout the world this year when she became not only the first woman to be elected as vice president but also the first woman of color to hold the position of vice president. Before being elected vice president, she was also recognized as the first African American and first woman to become the district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California, and in 2016, she became the first black senator from California. Harris is one of the most well known women in politics and one of the most influential women in America. She has made many important advancements in the U.S. and in the world of politics.

There are countless people in our history associated with African American History who have contributed many important inventions, advancements, and have sparked many important movements. It is important that we not only  recognize this history but that we raise it up to the level it has deserved for centuries.

Carter G. Woodson explained it best by saying, “It is essential for young African Americans to understand and be proud of their heritage. Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”