Facts About Black History Month
- Black History Month honors the contributions of Black Americans to United States history.
- American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week (then called “Negro History Week”) in February 1926 because it coincides with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist/writer Frederick Douglass (February 14).
- On March 2, 1955, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to move to the back of the bus, nine months before Rosa Parks’ refusal that launched the Montgomery bus boycott. But the NAACP and other Black organizations felt Rosa Parks, an adult, would make a better leader for the movement.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. did not prepare the most famous part of his speech in advance – he went off script for that part!
- Interracial marriage was banned in the United States until 1967 in the case Loving v. Virginia.
- Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives.
- In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American performer to win an Academy Award—the film industry’s highest honor—for her portrayal of a loyal slave governess in Gone With the Wind.
- On April 5, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He led the league in stolen bases that season and was named Rookie of the Year.
- In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Black president of the United States.
- In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first woman of African or Asian descent to become vice president. Harris’s mother immigrated to the United States from India and her father immigrated from Jamaica.
Sources: History.com, NMAAHC
Black History Month Social Studies Activities & February Black History Homeschool Curriculum
Here are a few curriculums that will help you teach about Black History the entire month of February and beyond. There is plenty of information here to learn a little bit every day.
- The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has a whole set of lesson plans to learn about different parts of Black history – all for free! This is perfect for using as a social studies curriculum through the month of February and beyond.
- Here’s a Tuskegee Airmen lesson plan.
- Learn about 12 unsung Black Americans with Bite-sized Black History (perfect for families with kids)
Featured Important Black History Month Person: Stacy Abrams
Stacy Abrams is a modern civil rights activist and voting rights activist. She served in the Georgia House of Representatives for ten years, from 2007 to 2017.
Black History Month Landmark: Edmund Pettus Bridge
The Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL was the location of what is known as Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965. Civil Rights Movement activists (including the late John Lewis) were attempting to march to the state capital of Montgomery when they were attacked by police. The bridge is named after a former Confederate general, US Senator, and leader of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. There have been some efforts to change the name of the bridge, but modern civil rights leaders maintain that any changes must come from the people of Selma.
The bridge became a National Historic Landmark on February 27, 2013.