I’ve often wondered why there is a black history “month”. It began as “Negro History Week” in 1926, the creation of Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was a historian, an authority on black history. He chose the second week of February for Negro History Week, because both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Dougass had birthdays in that week. It took decades for Woodson’s Negro History Week to gain popularity. It went from Negro History Week to what we now know as “Black History Month”. It wasn’t until 50 years later, in 1976, that the United States government officially recognized it, and I suspect that was an effort to bring black Americans onboard with the Bicentennial celebration.
It’s a bit bothersome to me that a celebration of the accomplishments of black Americans was something that took so long to recognize. After all, much of this country was built, quite literally, upon the backs of slaves. Daddy always taught me that “you take what’s given to you and do the best you can to make it bigger and better”. And so I will. I will use the search for my ancestors as a tool to educate myself and others about my heritage. I will share the accomplishments of my family, whether they be large ones or small ones, with anyone who will listen. I am the great-granddaughter of slaves and the daughter of free people. All of their stories are amazing, and I intend to tell as many as I can.