February 1st marks the beginning of African-American History Month, a chance for us to memorialize the many achievements and contributions that African Americans have had, and continue to have, on our history and culture. What started in the United States in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, the child of former slaves who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard, is now a month-long national celebration that provides us with opportunities to reflect and learn more about the triumphs and difficulties—both past and present—of African-Americans in our society.
Woodson is credited for writing African Americans into our national history by establishing the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and marking the first-ever Negro History Week, which was renamed Black History Month in 1976. Today, his reach extends beyond our borders; several countries including Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom take part in celebrations and observances.
Celebrations and Education
African-American history is American history. It is our collective history.
Throughout the month, there are many engaging and informational events designed to help us learn more about how African-Americans have positively influenced culture and society. Many of us are fortunate to live in communities that are hosting and celebrating with festivals, concerts, and educational forums, and we encourage you to participate in these events if you can.
There are virtual educational opportunities as well. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy:
- a New York Times storytelling podcast entitled the 1619 Project which “reframes black history from being separate and isolated…to wholly essential to the American Narrative.”
- a month-long virtual festival with innovative programming hosted by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History that focuses on Black Resistance in the past, present, and future.
- a virtual collection of audio stories, photography, and historical information surrounding the recently unveiled Embrace statue in Boston Common celebrating the life and meaningful work of Martin Luther King Junior and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Of course, if you live in the Boston area, or just visiting our offices, seeing this tribute in person is a must.
Liaison understands that education is the key to greater understanding and social growth and encourages everyone to invest time in learning more about the many amazing contributions, amid formidable challenges, made by African Americans in the United States.
“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished
lost the inspiration that comes from the teaching of…history.” Carter G. Woodson