February as Black History Month
Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month, which is an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans.
Black History Month 2020 Theme: "African-Americans and the Vote"
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment on February 3, 1870. The Fifteenth Amendment gave Black men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." It wasn't until the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920 that Black women gained voting rights. However, their constitutional right was limited in many states due to discriminatory laws.
Teaching Black History
In schools and classrooms, Black History Month is an excellent time to explore the Black experience—including the history and culture of African-American people, the injustice faced by them and how that injustice has been and continues to be confronted and overcome. As with other similarly themed months, it is important not to isolate black history and culture into one month during the year. Black history is American history and should be integrated into the curriculum throughout the school year.
This month we feature our teaching guide 10 Ideas for Teaching Black History Month as well as additional K-12 curriculum and other resources to bring the themes of Black History Month to your classroom during February and throughout the year.