Black History Month is an annual celebration recognizing the history, achievements, and reality of the Black community. Every year, Black History Month is given a theme to direct the public’s attention to important topics within the Black experience. 2020’s theme was African Americans and the Vote which emphasized the ongoing struggle for the right to vote from both black men and women.
The origin of Black History month starts with historian, Carter G. Woodson. In 1915, Woodson and his colleagues formed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) in order to educate and celebrate the achievements of the Black community. This led to the creation of Negro History Week in February of 1926 and by 1976, every U.S. President has announced February as Black History Month.
This year, the theme for Black History Month is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity. Their representation, identity, and diversity have been criticized and stereotyped from slavery to the present day. Despite the unjust hardships, the Black Family remains a symbol of resilience and perseverance. The foundation of the Black Family is very complex as it ranges from African descent to their present-day livelihood. There are numerous debates over the best way to represent the Black Family over variations such as conversations over religion, the impact of parenting, as patriarchal or matriarchal, and numerous others. From large family reunions to genetic ancestry searches, the Black Family spreads across, states, countries, and continents.
While Black History Month takes place during the month of February, it is important that Black history is celebrated and taught year-round. Black lives mattering does not start and end with February, their lives have mattered since the beginning of time.