Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Celebrate Black History Month in Detroit

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, a nationwide celebration commerating historic black leaders and reflecting upon black culture and its history in the United States.

According to findarticles.com, Black History Month began not as a month but, actually, as the second week in February. Originally termed Negro History Week by its creator - prominent black scholar Carter G. Woodson - in 1926, Woodson chose the second week of the second month of the year to celebrate black history because of two significant dates related to black freedom: the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln on the 12th, and the birthday of abolitionist Frederick Douglass on the 14th.

Designed to educate both blacks and whites about historic black figures and the black culture, the week-long event was eventually expanded to include the entire month of February, a decision that is reflective of more important dates in black history, including:

-The first Woolworth sit-in demonstration by black students in North Carolina (Feb. 1, 1960)
-Birth of poet Langston Hughes (Feb 1, 1902)
-Birth of Rosa Parks (Feb 4, 1913)
-Founding of the NAACP (Feb. 9, 1909)
-Nelson Mandela Released from 27-year prison sentence (Feb 11, 1990)
-Abraham Lincoln's birthdate (Feb. 12, 1809)
-Frederick Douglass' birthdate (Feb. 14, 1817)
-Assassination of Malcolm X (Feb. 21, 1965)
-Ordainment of Martin Luther King, Jr., as Baptist minister (Feb. 25, 1948)
-First female African American lawyer graduates from Harvard Law School (Feb. 27, 1872)

This article from the January 28, 2005, online edition of the Free Press includes a variety of Black History Month events in and around Metro Detroit during the month of February. Take some time to enjoy an appreciate the struggles and triumphs of African Americans in America's history.