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Indiana Civil Rights Commission

ICRC > Newsroom > February is Black History Month February is Black History Month

February is Black History Month or National African American History Month. Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as "Negro History Week" and later as Black History Month. Although African American's have been in America since colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a respectable presence in the history books.

The celebration of Black History Month can be attributed to Dr. Carter G. Woodson (pictured). Born to parents who were former slaves, Dr. Woodson spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines and did not enroll in high school until age 20.

He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. The scholar was disturbed to find in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population, which is why he established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) in 1915.

In 1926, he launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Please use the month of February to uncover the great significance African Americans have had in American and Indiana history.

There are numerous events in Indianapolis celebrating and highlighting these accomplishments.

Black History Events