Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926, started by Carter G. Woodson, the “father of Black History” and an African American historian, scholar, educator and publisher. Woodson imagined a week-long celebration to promote and educate people, specifically in the public schools, about Black history and culture. The second week of February was chosen as it coincides with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln and became a month-long celebration in 1976 when President Gerald Ford recognized it as Black History Month. Canada also celebrates Black History Month in February, while countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ireland celebrate it in October.
While the month of February is a time of celebration and recognition, we know Black history is American history, and the contributions and challenges that shaped our country from African Americans should be acknowledged, taught and discussed all year round and not one month a year.
Serving as your NOMA President and former Historian, we commit to always elevating the voices of our members, celebrating our triumphs and documenting our successes. Our organization began over 50 years ago, and recording our history remains important to its preservation. We must document our past and present to ensure its accuracy, so that NOMA’s history is not forgotten but told and understood by generations to come.