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Black History month grew out of Negro History Week, established in 1926 by the Association for the Study of African American Life, an organization that researched and promoted achievements of African Americans. The organization chose the second week of February because it had the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

In 1976, Gerald Ford proclaimed February Black History Month, calling it an opportunity “to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Some critics have argued that black history shouldn’t be relegated to one month. “I don’t want a black history month,” said actor Morgan Freeman. “Black history is American history.” Others have suggested that the focus on black history implies an anti-white bias, and that it’s no longer necessary in an era where a black man has been elected president.

Do we still need Black History Month?


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