February Offers Celebration of Black History and Contributions

by: BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Assistant

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Across the nation, February has become a celebration of culture as Black History Month focuses attention on the contributions of African Americans in politics, entertainment, science and medicine, athletics and much more.

At Minnesota State, the Multicultural Center and Black Student Union have events plan for the whole month including games, movie screenings, panels, special events and more! For a full schedule of events, check out the calendar.

The Origin Story

The beginnings of Black History Month trace back to 1926 when Carter G. Woodson, a renowned historian, scholar, educator, and publisher of that time, created “Negro History Week.” Negro History Week eventually turned into Black History Month in 1976. The month of February was chosen because of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. The month was created to celebrate the accomplishments of black people throughout history.

Black History Month is exclusively celebrated in the United States and Canada in February. It’s celebrated in United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ireland in October.

Why It’s Important to Celebrate

There are many reasons to celebrate Black History Month, but perhaps the most important funnel down to the following: recognizing and honoring the contributions of blacks in history; learning about the treatment of blacks and how they need to be respected and treated as equals; and continuing to make progress for social justice.

How It’s Celebrated

There are tons of ways Black History Month is celebrated. A lot of celebration happens in places of education like schools. Teachers will often show students movies about black icons, read stories, share poetry, view documentaries, show them artwork, play black-inspired music like hip-hop, explore their accomplishments and more.

Outside of the classroom, the celebrations can be far more extravagant. Atlanta, considered to be a “Black Mecca,” has a big parade. The Smithsonian in Washington D.C. creates special exhibits dedicated to Black History. Nashville has festivals, musicals and more. Philadelphia hosts a Black History Essay Contest for grade schoolers.

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