BHM: Five facts about Black History Month


Graphic by Mya Cummins.

Ofelia Mattingly

Black History Month has been widely celebrated since the 70s and helps educate young minds about the hardships and contributions African-Americans have made to impact the United States. Here are some interesting facts about Black History Month.

Negro History Week

Black History Month was originally known as Negro History Week and was created in 1926 by African-American scholar and educator Carter G. Woodson. This week was also in February, a month chosen because it holds the birthdays of both Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Negro History Week was expanded and became the nationally recognized holiday of Black History Month in 1976 as the result of advocation from the civil rights and Black power movement. 

Major economic firsts

Madam C.J. Walker became the first self-made millionaire after inventing an array of African-American hair products. The Louisianan was known for her products as well as her expansive philanthropy. The first African-American billionaire was Robert Johnson, who sold his cable station Black Entertainment Tonight (BET) in 2001. 

Its official recognition

Black History Month was officially recognized in 1976, when it made its shift from just being a week, by President Gerald Ford. He stated that Americans should learn about the, “too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans…” Every president since then has issued a proclamation honoring Black history and endorsing the annual theme of the month. 

Population and educational accomplishments

According to the United States Census Bureau, in the year 2020, the Black population alone stood at 46.9 million and 89.4% of African-Americans ages 25 and older had a high school or higher education diplomat. This is a highly notable and a major accomplishment for the Black community, who haven’t been afforded the same opportunities. It’s a testament to all that’s been fought for and civil rights won. 

Rotating themes

This special month has different themes of celebration each year. The 2022 Black History Month theme is “Black Health and Wellness.” This considers the many cultural activities and initiatives different Black communities have, not to mention avocation for recognizing greater health (mentally, physically and spiritually) within the community.