why is black history month celebrated in February?

Black History Month is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada as a time to recognize and honor the contributions, achievements, and struggles of African Americans throughout history. The choice of February as the designated month for this observance is tied to two significant figures and events in American history:

  1. Birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: February marks the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, who played a pivotal role in issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that legally freed slaves in the Confederate states, and Frederick Douglass, a prominent African American social reformer, abolitionist, writer, and statesman. Both men were born in February—Lincoln on the 12th and Douglass on either the 14th (the exact day is unknown but he celebrated it on the 14th) or the 16th.
  2. Negro History Week: The precursor to Black History Month was established by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. He chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Lincoln and Douglass, hoping to bring attention to the rich history and achievements of African Americans. Woodson aimed to educate the public about black history that had been overlooked or ignored in standard textbooks and curricula.

Over time, the celebration expanded from a week to a month. In 1976, as part of the United States Bicentennial, the annual celebration was officially extended to encompass the entire month of February and was renamed Black History Month. Since then, it has been observed annually to remember and appreciate the complex narrative of African American history and heritage.

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