Cordelza Haynes, Director, Frances B. Sellers/EOF Program

African American history month had its origins in the inspired work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, among others, as a means to study and recognize the history of Black people; their work began around 1915, and in 1926 a National Negro History Week was established by an organization today known as the Association for the study of African American Life and History. Black History Month was officially recognized in 1976 as a result of consciousness raised in the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s.

So, what is the legacy and meaning of this designated month? It represents the recognition that African American peoples must take the time to reflect upon their own narratives outside of the gaze of the wider society. This I believe is both a privilege and a communal responsibility. Our histories did not begin with the American horror of chattel slavery, and so it is not definitive of our communities. But it is one story among many of our peoples that needs to be remembered in relation to our current lived experiences politically, psychologically, spiritually, ethically. These among all our communal narratives are spaces to create, reassess, and reimagine who we are in all our particularities as members of humanity. Our stories are our power to shape generations to come. 

1 https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month


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