February is Black History Month when we celebrate the events in history related to the accomplishments of African Americans. These events include the contributions to American culture from musicians, inventors, writers, athletes and civil rights leaders.
What began as a week of celebration in 1926, later evolved as a national month of recognition. Black History month is also celebrated in other countries such as Canada. If you’re looking for good research paper topics you’ll want to check out the Black History timeline.
The story of Black History Month
The story of Black History Month began in 1915 with the founding of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) by the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson. Later known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the organization sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926. By the 1960s, advances in civil rights and a growing public awareness of Black identity spurred President Gerald Ford to officially recognize Black History Month in 1976.
You can learn more about Woodson at Questia.com where you can read the article, “Carter G. Woodson: Father of Black History,” from Ebony magazine, February 1993.
Regarding Woodson’s journey in establishing the study of Black history, the article said, “It serves also as eloquent evidence of the courage and devotion of Carter G. Woodson, who burrowed into the deep veins of the Black experience, like the coal miners of his youth, returning to the surface, again and again, with rich lodes of Black gold.”
Black history timeline
If we focus on Black history in America, the timeline begins in 1492 when a black navigator named Pedro Alonso Nino accompanied Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the New World. A detailed Black history timeline at PBS.org contains more interesting facts and events. Other timeline facts can be found at EnchantedLearning.com, and the U.S. Forest Service.
- 1804: Former slave, Toussaint L’Ouverture led a rebellion in Haiti.
- 1831-1861: The Underground Railroad helped as many as 75,000 slaves to escape to the north. Escaped slave Harriet Tubman returned to the South at least 20 times leading over 300 slaves to freedom.
- 1839: Slaves took over the slave ship Amistad and appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for their freedom and won.
- 1845: Former slave, Frederick Douglass published his autobiography, which became an international bestseller.
- 1863: Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in the South.
- 1865: Congress approved the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery and establishing the Freeman’s Bureau to assist former slaves.
- 1866: Congress passed the Civil Rights Act conferring citizenship on African Americans and granting them equal rights with whites.
- 1868: The Fourteenth Amendment was passed making blacks citizens of the U.S.
- 1870: The Fifteenth Amendment outlawing the denial of voting rights to black men was ratified; Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi became the first African-American senator.
- 1905: W.E.B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter were among leaders of a meeting which helped found the Niagara Movement and led to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
- 1922-1929: A period known as the Harlem Renaissance, an epoch in black art and literature.
- 1936: Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
- 1937: Joe Louis defeated James J. Braddock to become heavyweight boxing champion of the world.
- 1947: Jackie Robinson became the first black man to play major league baseball.
- 1954: The Supreme Court ordered that schools desegregate in Brown v. Board of Education.
- 1955: Rosa Parks ignited the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Alabama.
- 1963: Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. as part of the March on Washington.
- 1964: The Civil Rights Act became law, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or gender. Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize.
- 1965: The civil rights movement reached its peak with marches in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama.
- 1965: The National Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited states from imposing “voting qualifications” that would effectively deny the right to vote.
- 1966: Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party.
- 1992: Mae C. Jemison was the first black American woman in space on board the space shuttle Endeavor; Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
- 2009: Barack H. Obama became the nation’s first black president.
You can learn much more about African-American history at Questia.
Who is your favorite Black history fact? Tell us in the comments.