The Origins of Black History Month

The Origins of Black History Month

The Origins of Black History Month: Five Facts


By Heyward Watson


The origin of Black History Month starts with Carter G. Woodson (known as the father of Black History Month), who participated in the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois in 1915. Carter G. Woodson is also a nonprofit founder. He founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.


Black History Month was originally entitled Negro History Week in February of 1926 after Mr. Woodson and other Black intellectuals created and published The Journal of Negro History in 1916.


Negro History Week was developed to encompass the birthdays of two great Americans:  Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, who Carter G. Woodson believed played major roles in shaping black history in the United States. The birthdays of both these men occur in February.


Black History Month is celebrated in the United Kingdom in the month of October every year and in Canada and the U.S. in February of every year.


Black History Month celebrations in the United States, Canada, and the UK were established to study and celebrate the contributions that people from African and Caribbean backgrounds have made to those countries going back hundreds of years.


We at Third Sector Company are grateful for the work of Carter G. Woodson to found a nonprofit organization with a lasting legacy of social good over 100 years running. We also celebrate the numerous contributions of African American and Black people throughout our communities that shape history and lead us in into a better future.



Heyward Watson
Senior Strategist, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access
Third Sector Company, Inc.


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Photo by Beth Tate on Unsplash

Comments ( 2 )

  • Susan Adker

    Heyward, what an informative and well written article. I did not know any of this history and now I do! Thank you.

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