Each year, Archbishop Mitty High School and the Black Student Union acknowledge the achievements, important people and events, and contributions in the history of the African Diaspora. These celebrations have surrounded school-wide assemblies, guest speakers, displays, and events sponsored by the Black Student Union. The historical impact of the Black/African-American community can be identified daily in the lives of people throughout the world.
This webpage will provide context, resources, and an opportunity to understand why the month is celebrated not only in the United States, but in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands as well.
The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.
Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.
President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Those of you not familiar with Black History Month may ask, "what is it that I should be celebrating" or "what are the important achievements I should be recognizing"? While acknowledging that these contributions should certainly NOT just be relegated to only a 28-day month, and that Black history is intertwined as part of our global history, below are some topics, links, and videos that should allow you to learn more, appreciate more, and understand the need to celebrate not only during the month of February, but all year long.
Going back 400+ years, the Black race has struggled to co-exist with the same space and freedoms as other ethnic groups. This is not an attempt to diminish the plights of other races, but the Black race has endured slavery, the identify of being considered 3/5 of a human being, segregation, Jim Crow, legal/economic/political discrimination, and an overwhelming reality of social injustice. Throughout history, there have been profound figures and organizations that have worked to preserve the identity of Black/African-American citizens with one goal in mind, equal treatment for all. See the links below and see the profiles of the most prominent and important figures in this continuing movement.
Although the names above may be the more well-known civil rights activists in the history of our nation, click HERE for a more extensive list and profiles. Each of these individuals played an important in the continuing movement for civil rights and equality.
Watch this video to understand the Black Panther Party and its role as a Civil Rights group.
Black-owned businesses originated in the days of slavery before 1865. Emancipation and civil rights permitted businessmen to operate inside the American legal structure starting in the Reconstruction Era (1863–77) and afterwards. By the 1890s, thousands of small business operations had opened in urban areas. The most rapid growth came in the early 20th century, as the increasingly rigid Jim Crow system of segregation moved urban Blacks into a community large enough to support a business establishment. The National Negro Business League—which Booker T. Washington, college president, promoted—opened over 600 chapters.
Black entrepreneurs have a history of overcoming great obstacles and creating something from nothing. All entrepreneurs and innovators share in the legacy of overcoming significant obstacles and of assembling finite resources.
As reported by the United States Census Bureau in 2021, there were an estimated 134,567 Black- or African American-owned businesses with $133.7 billion in annual receipts, 1.3 million employees and about $40.5 billion in annual payroll. About 29.5% (39,705) of these businesses were in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector.
We have the good fortune of having access to resources and technology that allow us to manage everyday life. Many of those resources are used out of necessity, while many are seen as luxuries. Whether you know it or not, Black inventors are responsible for many of these common (and not so common) items. Use the links below to expand your knowledge and appreciation for the contributions of the African Diaspora in the area of invention.
Whether it be a good book, an entertaining film, a heartfelt poem, or soulful music, Black/African American culture can be found through the Arts. Over time, this medium has allowed people to feel the pain, understand the struggle, and celebrate the joys of the Black/African-American experience. You're invited to click the links below to begin your journey to appreciating Black History through the Arts.
Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. Most of these institutions were founded in the years after the American Civil War and are concentrated in the Southern United States. During the period of segregation in the United States prior to the Civil Rights Act, the overwhelming majority of higher education institutions were predominantly white and completely disqualified or limited African-American enrollment. For a century after the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, most colleges and universities in the Southern United States prohibited all African Americans from attending, while institutions in other parts of the country regularly employed quotas to limit admissions of blacks.
There are 101 HBCUs in the United States, including both public and private institutions (of 121 institutions that existed during the 1930s). Of these remaining HBCU institutions in the United States, 27 offer doctoral programs, 52 offer master's programs, 83 offer bachelor's degree programs, and 38 offer associate degrees. Click HERE for a full listing and university descriptions.