Celebrating Black History Month
Black History Month: The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
NAACP: On February 12, 2019, the NAACP marked its 110th anniversary. Spurred by growing racial violence in the early 20th century, and particularly by 1908 race riots in Springfield, Illinois, a group of African American leaders joined together to form a new permanent civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). February 12, 1909, was chosen because it was the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
Heavyweight Champ: Jack Johnson became the first African American man to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title in 1908. He held onto the belt until 1915.
First Lawyer: John Mercer Langston was the first Black man to become a lawyer when he passed the bar in Ohio in 1854. When he was elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio, in 1855 Langston became one of the first African Americans ever elected to public office in America. John Mercer Langston was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, famed poet of the Harlem Renaissance.
Famous Protestors and Activists: While Rosa Parks is credited with helping to spark the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her public bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955—inspiring the Montgomery Bus Boycott—the lesser-known Claudette Colvin was arrested nine months prior for not giving up her bus seat to white passengers.