I explain to my scholars that February is the month in America that we celebrate Black History Month. It is the month that we learn about, honor, and celebrate the achievements of African American men and women throughout the history of our nation. An African American man named Carter G. Woodson is considered the Father of Black History Month. He lived from 1875 to 1950 and realized during this time that most school textbooks ignored the contributions of black people. In 1926, Woodson began promoting the idea of Negro History Week. He chose to celebrate Black History Week during the second week in February because this week included the birthdays of two important people who would dramatically alter the future for black people - Abraham Lincoln (February 12th), the U.S. President who issued the Emancipation Proclamation and Frederick Douglass (February 14th), a well-known abolitionist. In 1976, 50 years after Negro History Week began and the bicentennial of the United States' independence from Great Britain, Negro History Week evolved and became Black History Month, which is celebrated in February in the United States.
To begin our unit on Black History, I have my students to complete a African American Web Quest. The major categories of information are: Inventors and Pioneers, Athletes, Education, Entertainment, and African Americans Activists and in Government.