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Celebrating Black History Month

In the first couple decades of the 20th Century, historian Carter G. Woodson was frustrated by the underrepresentation of black people in the common understanding of American history. The version of American history being taught across the country was predominantly the history of white people. This remained true through the 1960s when the most widely used eighth-grade textbook only mentioned two black people in the entirety of American history. Woodson teamed up with Jesse E. Moorland in 1915 to found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now know as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History - or ASALH). In 1926, Woodson and the ASALH launched “Negro History Week”, during the second week of February because both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born in that week. Woodson and the ASALH worked tirelessly to help schools include the history of African Americans in their curriculum. It wasn’t until 1976 that the one week was expanded to one month, and President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month. The theme of this year’s observance is “African Americans and the Vote” since this is the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote (a right that continues to be challenged). This Black History Month, how will you honor the stories that were left out of history for too long? You could click here to check out this list of poetry.  If movies are more your style, “Paris is Burning”, ”Mudbound”, “What Happened, Miss Simone”, “13th”, “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise”, “Hip-Hop Evolution”, and “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” are a few great films available for streaming on Netflix. There are numerous reading lists for books, like this one from The New York Times.

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