The History And Impact Of Black History Month


Lucas Darling

Black History Month is celebrated every year in February, but many of the people who celebrate it do not know its origins.

Kevin Antoine, Chief Diversity Officer at Bucks, said that in 1926 a historian named Carter G. Woodson started a “Negro History Week” to show people the way American schools presented history and left out African Americans’ contributions entirely.

The second week of February was originally chosen because Fredrick Douglass’ birthday is on 14th and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is on the 12th. In 1976, President Gerald Ford decreed Black History Month a national occurrence because it was celebrated all around the country.

Antoine believes the importance of Black History Month is tied to the erasure of achievements of black men and women by European colonizers. The aim of Black History Month is to educate the world on the great things that black people have accomplished throughout history. The pattern of colonizers minimizing achievements made by black people can be traced back to the Atlantic Slave Trade in the 1600s. Antoine also noted that humans originated in Africa and the mother of all humans was African.

The impact of Black History Month has expanded throughout the last few years as people are learning about more achievements of black people. Black History Month is not only celebrated in the U.S. in February, but also in Canada, while the U.K., Ireland and the Netherlands celebrate it in October.

According to Antoine, there is no “set” way to celebrate and recognize Black History Month, but there are a multitude of things a person can do to celebrate. Ways of celebration Antoine suggested are reenactments of achievements, watching a movie or documentary, recognizing individuals who support initiatives to educate the population on achievements of black people, or cooking traditional foods enjoyed by African Americans.

Bucks will be participating in Black History Month celebrations. “Here at Bucks, the President’s Diversity Office along with the Black Student Union and the Advisory Committee on Race Ethnicity Diversity and Inclusion are sponsoring campus wide virtual programs to celebrate Black History,” said Antoine.

Some of the events included in the programs have been a screening of “Difficult Times Ahead,” a documentary that sets Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches to current events, and a discussion with Author Doug Crawley, and African American CEO of a multimillion-dollar business about his new book “Collaborate as If Your Life Depends on It.”

Later this month, BCCC and the Bucks County Commissioners will be joint hosting a virtual program honoring Dr. Frank Boston who was a doctor and veteran of WWI, founder of North Penn Hospital, and an ambulance service for the surrounding area.

Antoine believes that with Black History Month a better job must be done regarding preserving and teaching Black history, making it clearer that many black men and women made signi