The Origins of Black History Month in the United States

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.


More Suggested Reading for Middle School

One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor

The Watsons Go to Birmingham
by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Lions of Little Rock
by Kristin Levine

Through My Eyes
by Ruby Bridges

Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson

We’ve Got A Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March
by Cynthia Levinson

Henry’s Freedom Box
by Ellen Levine

More Suggested Reading for High School

The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas

by Walter Dean Myers

American Street
by Ibi Zoboi

Fake ID
by Lamar Giles

Another Brooklyn
by Jacqueline Woodson

by Tiffany D. Jackson

The Sun is Also a Star
by Nicola Yoon

Dreamland Burning
by Jennifer Latham

Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon

Black Boy White School
by Brian F. Walker

The Skin I’m In
by Sharon G. Flake

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