Origins of Black History Month Celebration

Black History Month

Black History started early in the 20th century, 1926 to be exact. It was created by Carter G. Woodson in 1915 and was originally named “Negro History Week” at that time.

It was celebrated annually on the second week of February to highlight the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas.

Since those two individuals were prominent figures in American History who lead in the abolition of slavery, that week was chosen.

As time went on, Negro History Week gained momentum and popularity. In 1976, it pivoted from a week to become Black History Month under President Gerald Ford.

He recognized February as Black History Month which allows for a more thorough examination of the history of contributions African Americans have made in the US.


Black History Month Activities

25 of The Best Black History Quotes

  1. “A people who have suffered so much for so long at hands of a racist society, we need urgently to deal with the fact of Blackness.” – James Baldwin
  2. “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  3. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  4. “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
  5. “I am not a failure because I have black skin, but because I haven’t yet found a way to use my blackness.” – Langston Hughes
  6. “We have a right to self-defense, and we have a right to become free, and we have a right to seek our freedom and defend ourselves against those who oppress us.” – Huey Newton.
  7. “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lorde
  8. “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King
  9. “I am not a stereotype. I am a human being.” – Maya Angelou
  10. “Race is the child of racism, not the father” – Ta Nehisi Coates
  11. “The way to right wrongs is to turn the truth upon them.” – Ida B. Wells
  12. “I want to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would also be free.” – Harriet Tubman
  13. “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” – Audre Lorde
  14. “Turning a blind eye to our history has not saved us from its consequences.” — Cicely Tyson
  15. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglas
  16. “I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.” – Frederick Douglass
  17. “We have a duty to fight for our freedom. It’s not something that we can do half-heartedly.” – Malcolm X
  18. “To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.” — W.E.B. Du Bois”
  19. I want to be remembered as a catalyst for change in my community and as a woman who has done her part to make the world a better place for all people.” – Angela Davis
  20. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  21. “Just walking through this life as a Black person, and actually surviving that, was and still is an ovation-worthy performance.”— Cicely Tyson
  22. “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.” – Angela Davis
  23. “It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.” – Maya Angelou
  24. “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” – Malcolm X
  25. “We say, hold on to the real facts of history as they are, but complete such knowledge by studying also the history of races and nations which have been purposely ignored.” — Carter G. Woodson

12 Ideas To Celebrate Black History Month


Below is our list of ideas to celebrate black history month

  1. Organize an interactive Black History Month Event by inviting speakers, performers, leaders, educators and other local African American Artists.
  2. Coordinate a Black History “Tell All” activity forum where people can share their personal experiences and perspectives on race and racism. This can include sharing stories about their own experiences with discrimination.  They should discuss the impact of current events and talk about ways to create a more inclusive environment.
  3. Coordinate an in person or virtual Black History Month Trivia Challenge. Invite competitive people who love American History trivia. This challenge allows people to show off their knowledge about black history to win prizes.
  4. Make a Black History Month display that features African American figures that have shaped American history. This can be done in the school library, cafeteria, conference room. Have an event where those iconic figures will be unveiled and talked about.
  5. Host a Black History Month Film Festival highlighting African American filmmakers and their contributions to the culture.
  6. Organize a Black History Month essay contest for the local community or
  7. Schools. Prizes small as gift cards or large as scholarships can be given as prizes for the best entries.
  8. Create a Black History Month event focused on books written by African American authors, poets and activists.  The books should be about their life experiences, culture and contributions to American society.
  9. Host a Black History Month Art Show that showcases the work of local African American artists.
  10. Organize a Black History Month Talent Show that features performances by local African American musicians, dancers, and performers.
  11. Plan a Black History Month field trip to a local African American museum or cultural center.
  12. Participate in a community service project that benefits the African American community.

When organizing Black History Month events, make sure you establish some ground rules.  To ensure that everyone feels comfortable, participants should be willing to speak from their own experiences and refrain from making assumptions about other people.

Having a facilitator or mentor on hand, can play a vital role in helping to guide these types of crucial activities and conversations. They are more prepared to address any potential challenges or conflicts that may arise and by fostering an atmosphere of openness, respect, and understanding.

These Black History Month ideas are just the tip of the iceberg and a starting point that should be tailored to a specific community and resources available. It is also necessary to be mindful of cultural sensitivity to ensure that the celebration is inclusive and represents diversity within the African American community.

Need Help with Planning A Black History Month Activity?


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Contact us today if you need help planning an activity or exercise for Black History Month.

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Lisa Lawrence

Written by Lisa Lawrence

Lisa Lawrence. is a certified facilitator and team building expert with over 12 years of experience in the field.  She has a passion for helping to build stronger teams and has worked with a wide range of fortune 500 businesses to improve communication and boost morale in the New York City Metro Area.

January 27, 2023


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