Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs

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The Origin of African American History Month

"If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”

--Carter G Woodson

Woodson was a historian, who believed in the documentation and celebration of history and believed it was integral to the survival and sustainability of any race.

Therefore, Carter G Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History founded “Negro History Week” in 1926. The second week of February was chosen because Frederick Douglass’ birthday is February 14th and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is February 12th.

Black history week was expanded from one week to the entire month by Kent State University in 1969 and was officially recognized by the US government in 1976 by Gerald Ford during his speech of the Bicentennial of the United States.

The Office of African American Affairs celebrates African American Heroes:

President Barack Obama

Michelle Obama

Frederick Douglass

Duke Ellington

Taraji P. Henson

Dr. Charles Richard Drew

Chuck Brown

Marvin Gaye

Dave Chapelle

Marion Barry