Historical Significance of Black History Month in the US


It’s not in contention that in the current Black lives Matter phenomenon; racial sensitivity has increased and become a source of controversy but what is also not disputable is that over generations Blacks have always been a footnote in the American society and been on the periphery in all positive facets of the society. This black history month essay endeavors to explain the place of black history month in society highlights its significance. Black history month in politically correct euphemism is referred to as the African American History Month. It’s a period annually dedicated to the celebration of the achievements of African Americans in all facets of society. It was started in 1926 when the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History through its leader Carter Woodson started an America-wide observance of the success of the Negro community during the second week of February. Carter Woodson choose the second week of February because it was the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. It started as a weeklong celebration in the United States of America but has morphed into a monthlong celebration during the month of February in the United States and Canada. The celebration was also approved in the United Kingdom in October 1987 and has become an annual event. What started as a period to counter the narrative that slaves were treated well has now become a worldwide phenomenon of celebration of black culture.

Black History Month in the United States

Black history month in the United States of America is a very controversial issue with a part of the society from the Trumpian mindset alleging that its tokenism and should be shunned. There is also a part of the American society that thinks it's an overhyped marketing activity and unwarranted publicity stunt played to massage the egos of African Americans. The education system in America requires that schools commemorate Black History Month in February with stories of triumph and bravery from Malcolm X, Elijah Mohammed, and Martin Luther King Jr. The controversial part is about teaching about race relations and violence.

Most Blacks would like black history month to be more about CRT or the critical race theory.CRT states that talks about the history of racism in America and systemic racism. The deep south believe that the slave owners treated the black slaves well as per the conditions of those times and that Blacks should appreciate that being slaves was good for them. The main purpose of Black History month is thus to make sure future generations of blacks don’t allow this alleged distortion of history and for them to appreciate the suffering their forefathers underwent under the white domination. There are Americans who think there is a need to inculcate Black history in the educational syllabus past February and make it an inherent part of the educational curriculum.

The American nation progressives want Black history to be a key part of American History and the black liberation icons to move from being celebrated only in February but to being celebrated all year round. Some Americans deem the suggestion to make black history be part of American History to be an elevation of one race over others. This group wants black History month to be a celebration of the achievements of Blacks in different fields like Arts, Creative Industry, Science among others.

Significance of Black History Month

Black History Month should be used to prick the conscience of the society and thus lead to a direct conversation on institutional racism in the American nation. The commemoration should aid in showing society how our past shaped our future.Black History month is more about hero-worshipping the strides taken by the black nation from the days of slavery and yoke to date. Black History Month helps to remind the current society that blacks were in the past classified as unwanted aliens who were legally dehumanized and occasionally lynched. The black history month tells the current crop of African American citizenly the importance of self-liberation and the power to move them from the yoke of poverty, crime and drug abuse lie in education.


Black history month is an important event in American nationhood and should move from being an educational matter and become a conversation starter into race relations in our great nation. The commemoration period has been a period of improved sales for books on black history and books by black authors this might prove to be more harmful in the future, there is also the threat that Black History Month is becoming more of a commercial showbiz event there should be more research on the impact of the commercialization of the Black History month and how this improves or erodes its significance.

Black history month is just a mere monthly celebration border on being offensive but if black history can b included in the curriculum as envisaged by CRT then it will be a tremendous milestone in the promotion of civil liberties and racial equalities.


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05 January 2023
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