Celebrates Black History Month

by Amy Johnson Crow

Posted on February 6, 2013

african-american-civil-war-family.jpg is proud to celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February. Let's take a look at the history of this important month and ways that you can celebrate along with us.

The Origins of Black History Month

Historian Carter G. Woodson is often referred to as the "Father of Black History." Born in 1875, Woodson was the son of former slaves. He earned his bachelor's degree from Berea College, his master's degree from the University of Chicago, and his doctorate from Harvard. Woodson was one of the founders of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). Through the efforts of Woodson and the ASNLH, the first "Negro History Week" was celebrated in 1926.

In 1976, Gerald Ford became the first U.S. president to declare February as "Black History Month." Each president since then has done the same.

Celebrate With

Each Tuesday this month, the Expert Series will feature an article showing you ways to discover your African-American ancestors. Karin D. Berry started off the month yesterday with her article "Hiding in Plain Sight: 5 Sources for African-American Genealogy." Look for articles by Kathleen Brandt on using slave manifests; Michael Hait on the U.S. Colored Troops; and J. Mark Lowe on slave census schedules. These articles will show you that even though African-American genealogy can be challenging, it is not impossible.

Another great resource is's "Patriots of Color" database. This free database contains records of people of color who either fought in the American Revolution or aided the patriot cause. Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Jane E. Ailes were the lead researchers in compiling these important records.

Be sure to explore these great resources for helping you find your African-American ancestors and celebrate Black History Month.

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