Honoring history, celebrating achievements of Black Americans in February

Published on February 8, 2021
A graphic with the text "Black History Month" in red, black, and green.

February’s celebration of Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, originated in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week. Black History Month attained more formal recognition in the U.S. in the 70s with President Gerald R. Ford’s 1976 Bicentennial Year message about its importance. He described Black History Month as an occasion to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”


Read about the 2021 Theme: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity (Association for the Study of African American Life and History, founders of Black History Month)

The family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present. While the role of the black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the foundation” of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective—as slave or free, as patriarchal or matriarchal/matrifocal, as single-headed or dual-headed household, as extended or nuclear, as fictive kin or blood lineage, as legal or common law, and as black or interracial, etc.

Source: The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.

Additional Resources

From the USCCB:

Learn about The National Black Catholic Congress

Read about November’s celebration of Black Catholic History Month (Crux)

Who will be the first Black Catholic saint from the United States? (America magazine)

Viewpoint: Black History Month has a little known Catholic history as well by Shannen Dee Williams, Ph.D. (CNS via The Dialog)

Remembering the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.


Events during Black History Month (National Black Catholic Congress)

Events – Subcommittee on African American Affairs (USCCB)

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