March 06, 2017

#05-013: February: Black History Month and More

graphic with Wikipedia logo and "Black History / Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon / February 2021 / Join us for a month-long series of events to improve / the quality of Black history pages on Wikipedia / / Organized by U of T Libraries and community partners"
Wikipedia-sponsored Black History Month event

Note: Recognition of the contributions of African Americans to America's success was long overdue. Learn how it finally got started--less than 100 years ago.

Get Ready: Can you name some of the people who helped improve our awareness of Black contributions to America's success?

For some reason--perhaps because it comes after the relative quiet of January when people are still recuperating from the holidays--February has a number of significant month-long observances.

The best-known of these is Black History Month. For many years the important role of the African-American in the building of America went unrecognized.

That began to change back in 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson promulgated "Negro History Week." Set in the second week of February, to coincide with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and black social reformer and statesman Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14), the concept was embraced enthusiastically. Three years later, it was said that, in any state with a "considerable Negro population," the Departments of Education had distributed literature and promoted the event. Churches also took up the cause. The holiday was endorsed by mayors, and engendered the creation of clubs dedicated to black history, as well as a greater general awareness of African-Americans' contributions to America.

Woodson, who has been called "The Father of Black History," wrote: "If a race has no history... it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated."

In 1976, after the upheavals--and progress--caused by the Civil Rights Movement, Black History Month was first recognized nationally as part of America's Bicentennial celebrations. Then-President Gerald Ford said Americans should "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." The first such celebrations followed in the UK in 1987, and in Canada in 1995.


A related observance is the international "Season for Nonviolence," which starts on January 30--the day Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated--and ends on April 4--which marks the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. It was established in 1998 by Gandhi's grandson to promote the philosophies of these two leaders, and embraces all of Black History Month as well.


February is also American Heart Month (promoting cardiac health) and National Bird-Feeding Month (near the end of winter) in the U.S., and LGBT History Month in the U.K. (which happens in October in the U.S.)


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. cardiac
  2. coincide
  3. considerable
  4. embraced
  5. endorsed
  6. engendered
  7. negligible
  8. promulgated
  9. recuperating
  10. upheavals

  1. accepted warmly
  2. created; gave rise to
  3. disturbances
  4. approved; recommended
  5. proclaimed; announced
  6. recovering
  7. large; significant
  8. unimportant
  9. of the heart
  10. happen at the same time

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for March 6, 2017

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. j; 3. g; 4. a; 5. d; 6. b; 7. h; 8. e; 9. f; 10. c