February is Black History month. It was first celebrated in 1970 and is a way to collectively remember and give homage to important events and people that were traditionally forgotten in American history. It’s now celebrated throughout the nation, but it truly began with a scholar in 1926.
Before the inception of Black history month there was Negro History Week. It started when historian Carter G. Woodson chose the second week of February to celebrate because it was the week of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. Woodson also started the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in Chicago in 1915.
Negro History Week was first intended to aid in teaching Black history in schools. It started slow but swiftly gained participation of other states, including Delaware, West Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland. By 1929, it was celebrated widely in America.
Black History Month started with Black students and educators at Kent State University and was celebrated throughout the country within six years.
All month long people are encouraged to make note of the fact that Black history is American history, and Boise is no exception. Although Covid has dampened in-person events, there are numerous ways people can support and participate. Some options are attending a virtual class or donating to local organizations like the local NAACP or BLM chapter and Inclusive Idaho or supporting local organizers, like Tanisha Newton, who recently won the Dave Judy Civil Rights Service Award from the ACLU of Idaho, or Tai Simpson, an advocate who facilitates numerous workshops, gives interviews and speeches and is a keynote speaker at the upcoming virtual young women and leadership conference at Boise State.