Since 1969, Black History Month has annually been celebrated throughout the month of February. The month celebrates and recognizes the achievements and progression of black people. Originally, the month was created by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926 and celebrated as Negro History Week. It was not until 1976 that U.S. President Gerald Ford officially recognized the month. Since his recognition, every U.S. president has continued to recognize the month.

Just like the nation celebrates Black History Month every February, we honor the month through different celebrations hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). You can look at OMA’s calendar of events for the month.

To prepare to celebrate, here are some interesting facts that you might not have known about Black History Month!

1. Black History Month is an international celebration.

In the United Kingdom, Black History Month is annually celebrated throughout the month of October. Akyaaba Addai Sebo, a coordinator at the Greater London Council, birthed the month in 1987. Sebo, who is Ghanain born, was inspired to start a UK Black History Month after visiting the United States in the 1970’s, a time in which America was in uproar over the Civil Rights Movement. In the UK, Black History Month is celebrated in October due to the African tradition that African chiefs would meet in October to dispute conflicts and make agreements.

2. Each Black History Month has a theme.

Carter G. Woodson, the creator of Negro History Week and accredited to the creation of Black History Month, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The association aims to educate black people and the world about black history while continuing Woodson’s legacy. Each year, the association releases a theme that is to be explored throughout the month. This year’s theme is ‘African Americans and the Vote,’ which recognizes the Women’s Suffrage Movement, which led to the Nineteenth Amendment, as well as the Fifteenth Amendment that allowed black men to vote. The theme explores the difficulty that black people have had in voting, as well as their active role in activism and suffrage. Past themes of Black History Month have included, “The Crisis in Black Education,” “Black Women in American Culture and History” and “Civil Rights in America.”

3. The NAACP was founded on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the country, was founded on the 100th birthday celebration of Abraham Lincoln, February 12, 1909. Black History Month was also started in February to commemorate the births of Lincoln and civil rights activist, Frederick Douglass.

In addition to keeping up with the official Black History Month Calendar, follow #CuseBHM for updates. You can also contact OMA at or 315.443.9676.

Written by Jewél Jackson ’20, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Black History Month Planning Committee Member


The History Channel – ‘Black History Month’

Association for the Study of African American Life and History – ‘Black History Themes’

Evening Standard – ‘Black History Month UK 2019: Why is it important and why is it celebrated in October?’