Feb. 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month, a national celebration to honor the achievements of past and present African Americans. For decades Black History Month was only recognized in select cities however, in recent years the holiday’s increased prevalence has created an abundance of new opportunities to participate in the festivities.
“Black History Month offers us an opportunity to remember this country’s past injustice and celebrate the progress African Americans have made,” said senior Brandis Banos.
The holiday was first established in 1926 by Harvard University graduate Carter G. Woodson. After completing his education, Woodson experienced immense difficulty in acquiring a position as a historian and received fewer opportunities within his career field than his Caucasian counterparts. Despite his status as a paying member, the American Historical Association prohibited Woodson from attending conferences and blatantly disregarded his attempts to preserve African American history. The experience convinced Woodson to create the Association for Study of American Life and History, an institution that provided black students with the history of their heritage. He later created an event dubbed, “Black History Week” for the members of his association to celebrate the overlooked or oppressed accomplishments of African Americans. In the 1970’s, students at Kent State University expanded the holiday to an entire month and promoted it to the government who then designed every February as, “Black History Month.”
“Black History has shaped me into the person I am today. I feel like a month-long celebration of black accomplishments is deserved,” said senior Tise Awobokun.
Every February communities across the greater Katy area gather together to honor the historical figures of Black History Month however, due to the ongoing pandemic, strict regulations have greatly limited the number of available celebrations this year. Despite these restrictions, several organizations have decided to proceed by adapting their annual events to incorporate social distancing guidelines and implemented protective measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. On Feb.8, Houston B Cycle will host a guided bike tour throughout the city and explore Black Historical Landmarks within the area. For those who prefer public speakers over physical activity, on Feb. 9 jazz performer Damien Sneed will recount African American music traditions inspired by the civil rights movement and honor the artists who utilized their talent to protest racial discrimination.
“The most important part of Black History Month is to recognize African Americans who have inspired you and motivate you to prevail through whatever hardships come your way,” said Awobokun.