Black History Month Trivia: An annual celebration called Black History Month or African-American History Month got its start in the United States of America, where it is known by both of those names. The governments of the United States and Canada have formally acknowledged the holiday, and more recently, it has been celebrated in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

It started out as a method to commemorate significant people and events that occurred throughout the history of the African diaspora. In the United States and Canada, the holiday is celebrated in the month of February. However, in Ireland and the United Kingdom, it is marked in the month of October.

Black History Month Trivia

Douglass Day

In January 1897, a school teacher by the name of Mary Church Terrell successfully convinced the school board in Washington, D.C. to dedicate the afternoon of Frederick Douglass’ birthday in February to the teaching of lessons about his life and work in the city’s public schools, which at the time were still segregated. This event came to be known as Douglass Day.

Negro History Week (1926)

In 1926, in the United States, the historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) declared the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” People think that this event was the start of Black History Month, which is held every February.

This week was chosen because it happened to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which were dates that the black community had praised together since the late 19th century. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, and Frederick Douglass was born on February 14. This week was chosen because it coincided with both of these dates.

Lincoln Jubilee (1915)

The reasoning that went into the creation of the week was never documented, but academics agree that there were two driving forces behind its inception: recognition and importance. It takes us back to 1915.

Woodson had taken part in the Lincoln Jubilee in 1915, which was a celebration held in Bronzeville, Chicago, to mark the half-century anniversary of the abolition of slavery. The summer long Jubilee attracted attendance from all across the county, with thousands of spectators coming to witness exhibitions of heritage and culture. This impressed Woodson with the need to draw structured focus on the history of black people, and that fall, he led the formation of the ASNLH.

Negro History Week: The Beginnings

After Woodson started the Negro History Week in 1926, in the early stages of the event’s history, support from African-American media was essential. Since the first stages of the event, the primary focus has been on incentivizing coordinated lessons on the historical contributions of African Americans in public schools across the country.

In spite of the lukewarm reception that the first Negro History Week received, it was successful in gaining the cooperation of the education departments of the states of North Carolina, Delaware, and West Virginia, as well as the education departments of the city school administrations of Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Despite the fact that just a minority of people participated in the event, Woodson described it as “one of the most fortunate actions ever taken by the Association,” and preparations for holding a similar gathering on an annual basis moved along without a hitch.

Black History Month Trivia

Black History Month Trivia: Elsewhere in the World

England (1987)

A handbill published in Alnwick, Northumberland, in 1822 promoting the services of a black boxing instructor; Northumberland Archives will tweet it as part of Black History Month in 2020.

The month of October 1987 marked the beginning of the first ever celebration of Black History Month in the United Kingdom. Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, a Ghanaian analyst, took the initiative to organize Black History Month in the United Kingdom. Addai-Sebo had previously worked for the Greater London Council (GLC) as a coordinator of special projects and was responsible for forming a partnership to get the initiative off the ground.

In the United Kingdom, the first celebration of Black History Month took place in London in 1987, as a part of African Jubilee Year. On October 1, Dr. Maulana Karenga from the United States was welcomed to an occasion at County Hall to mark the contributions of black people throughout history. Addai-Sebo also drew up a plan to recognize the contributions of African, Asian, and Caribbean peoples to the economic, cultural, and political life in the United Kingdom. Other boroughs began

Black History Month UK does not endorse the use of the term “black” to refer to all people of color in the UK (see: political blackness). Additionally, Black History Month UK has heavily criticized organizations for supporting Black History Month with images of people from British Asian backgrounds. Black History Month is observed every February in the United Kingdom.

Germany (1990)

Celebrations honoring Black History Month were first held in Berlin in 1990, and then extended to other German cities. Members of the Black German community in Berlin were the first to start the tradition. In the past, programmer have talked about things like the history of civil rights movements in the United States and South Africa, black Europeans, international views on Africa, and international African views.

Canada (1995)

In 1995, in response to a motion made by Jean Augustine, a Canadian politician who represented the electoral district of Etobicoke—Lakeshore in the province of Ontario, the House of Commons of Canada formally acknowledged the month of February as Black History Month and honored Black Canadians. In 2008, Senator Donald Oliver made a motion in the Senate to officially recognize Black History Month. There was no debate or discussion, and the motion was passed.

The celebration is currently understood in Canada as an occasion to honor “the accomplishments and efforts of black Canadians and their communities who… have done so much to make Canada a culturally diverse, caring, and successful country.”

More Black History Month Trivia

Interesting Facts

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), during the Civil Rights Movement in the middle of the 1960s, college students at Kent State University in Ohio led protests calling for the establishment of black studies departments and courses that focused on the accomplishments of African Americans. Additionally, students urged that colleges make the commemoration of Negro History Week into a month-long event. In 1976, President Gerald Ford was the first person to make February Black History Month in the United States.

Sponsors Of Black History Month 

The National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Archives and Records Administration, and a great number of other prestigious organizations collaborate to sponsor Black History Month on a national scale. These organizations hold commemorative events in honor of Black history throughout the month of February.

Celebrations Of Black History Month 

Dr. Jean Augustine, a black Canadian who was a member of Parliament at the time, was the person who initiated Black History Month in Canada in 1995. Celebrations are held during the month of February, and they are very similar to those that are done in the United States. As a result of this, Augustine is commonly referred to as the “Mother of Black History Month” in Canada. October is Black History Month in the Netherlands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. In all three of these countries, the month begins on the first of the month. The United Kingdom’s initial focus was on Black American history; however, the country is now more interested in commemorating Black British history.

Many African Americans got their start in higher education at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, were established with the goal of increasing the number of options for Black Americans to pursue higher education. In 1837, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania became the first historically black college or university to open its doors. There are now more than 100 HBCUs in existence.

According to the Higher Education Act of 1965, the definition of an HBCU is “any historically black campus that was formed prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is certified by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary of Education.” This definition applies to any college or university that was started before 1964 and whose main goal was and still is to educate black Americans.

The Civil Rights Act Of 1957

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower of the United States in the year 1957. Since the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 by President Ulysses S. Grant, the federal government has not passed any law pertaining to civil rights since the end of the Reconstruction period. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 established both a federal Civil Rights Commission to investigate and discipline those who practice discrimination and a Civil Rights Section of the Department of Justice to apply federal statutes to protect underserved Americans from discrimination. The investigation and discipline of those who practice discrimination was mandated by the act.

Civil Rights Act Of 1957

Black History Month Trivia Conclusion

Black History Month Trivia: Many people of African descent in the United States look forward to the day when there will no longer be a need to celebrate Black History Month. Unfortunately for many people, recent developments seem to indicate that the moment has not yet arrived. Black History Month provides an excellent opportunity for people of all ages in the United States, but particularly for young people, to take stock of their lives, draw on their experiences, and envision and strive toward a more idealized and equitable future. A large number of Americans still think that they are being pushed by the same social problems that inspired Woodson 100 years ago.