Black History Month was initiated in February 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), to highlight the achievements of the descendants of the African diaspora.

Schools will be covering Black History Month, but you can supplement and join in on your child’s education at events and exhibits focused on celebrating black leaders, black cultural heritage and landmarks of civil rights history.  Libraries in particular have many free events, including workshops and performances. Photo exhibitions and a handwritten copy of the Thirteenth Amendment help make history real to young people. The New-York Historical Society’s new children’s museum includes a permanent section on James McCune Smith (1813-1865), the first university-trained black doctor in America. 

Carter G. Woodson received his Ph.D. in history at Harvard University in 1912; he was the second African-American (after W.E.B. DuBois) to earn a doctorate. Even after earning his doctoral degree, Carter taught in public schools while also serving as professor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University. Establishing Black History Month was just one of the scholar’s achievements.