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Black History Month 2024: Welcome!

Black History Month is celebrated each year in February to remember influential people and events throughout the history of the African diaspora.

Black History Month 2024

Black History Month: Honoring Black Individuals and Their Stories 

Decorative photo for Black History Month celebration

From February 1st to March 1st, the United States celebrates the rich history and culture created by people of the African diaspora. Social Justice Peer Educator Zen Brown and the Foley Library are proud to collaborate on this Libguide to provide resources for learning about Black heritage and stories. This guide includes important information on Black history, culture, literature, art, and more. 

This year's Black History Month theme is "African Americans and the Arts," which allows us to dive deep into the influence many Black Americans have had on the growth of visual arts, music, and various cultural movements throughout United States history. 

Here are some specific ways you can celebrate Black History Month and support the Black community:

  • Read books by Black authors
  • Read books about prominent figures throughout Black history 
  • Visit online or in-person exhibitions about Black history and culture 
  • Listen to music produced by Black artists 
  • Check out our exhibition at the Foley Library! 

Black History Month: Hidden Figures

This year, the Foley Library and Social Justice Peer Educator (SJPE), Zen Brown, are collaborating to bring light to the legacies of hidden figures in the Black community. Focusing on people who have been overshadowed by other significant Black figures, Zen Brown highlights incredible stories of Black Americans who have influenced the way we think about Black experiences. 

Social Justice Peer Educator, Zen Brown 

Image of Zen Brown

Timeline of Black History Month

The story of Black History Month began in Chicago in 1915 when Carter G. Woodson traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the national celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation. From then on, Woodson would dedicate his life to supporting the Black community while inspiring other civil rights activists even after his passing in 1950. 

Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) 

Black and White portrait of Carter G. Woodson

1915 - The creation of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) 

1924 - Together with his fraternity brothers, Woodson created "Negro History and Literature Week," which celebrated and spread Black history and literature across the nation. 

1926 - Woodson established "Negro History Week" to expand conversations around Black literature, heritage, culture, and scholarship. Woodson chose February to celebrate "Negro History Week" for reasons of tradition and reform within the Black community. 

1937 - With Mary Lcleos Bethune's help, Woodson established the "Negro History Bulletin," which provided a foundation for American students and teachers of Black history. 

1940s - During the 40s, Black history began to be taught in schools around the nation. The emergence of education on Black history sparked intellectual discussions of civil rights and race relations. 

1960s - By the late 1960s, young people in the Black community became increasingly active in the civil rights movement. The 1960s is when America experienced the shift from a "Negro History Week" to an official Black History Month. 

1976 - 50 years after the first celebration, the association used its influence to create Black History Month. Under President Gerald Ford, "Negro History Week" became Black History Month. 

Gerald Ford and Jesse Jackson (far right) in 1976 

photograph of Gerald Ford officially calling for the establishment of Black History Month

For more information on the origins of Black History Month, please visit the ASALH website: 

Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)