The origins of Black History Month can be traced back to the 1926 creation of “Negro History Week” by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Since 1976, February has been officially designated Black History Month in the U.S. The UK and Canada are among the other countries to dedicate a month to celebrating black history.
Origins of Black History Month
Slavery in the U.S. officially ended with ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. In 1915, various civil rights groups were formed to fight for the rights of African Americans and research and promote the achievements made by African Americans. In 1926, the civil rights groups funded a national Negro History Week on the second week of February of that year. That week was specifically chosen to coincide with Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. Many learning institutions throughout the country were inspired by this move and organized performances and lectures.
In the following decades, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly decrees recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, the civil rights movement sensitized people about black identity. Negro History Week was renamed Black History Month by several colleges. However, it was not until 1976 when President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month.
Since then, all American presidents have designated February as Black History Month and authorized a specific theme for the event.
5 Popular Foods for Celebrating Black History Month
Black History Month is a time for celebrating the achievements made by black people in shaping the history of the U.S. Many people celebrate black history month by preparing certain soul foods.
The term “soul food” was said to be coined by the human rights activist and poet Amiri Baraka in the 1960s. However, the origins of the actual food can be traced back to the years of slavery when slaves were forced to prepare meals with whatever food they could find.
Collards With Red Onions
It is not surprising for soul food recipes to consist of only vegetables, though meat is often used in many recipes.
Fried fish is a common feature of soul food. Eating fried fish is quite common during Black History Month. One of the best things about this dish is that it only takes minutes to prepare.
Savory Triple-Corn Grits
Although this dish is quite creamy for weight-conscious people, many people happily indulge in it during Black History Month. This is a vegan dish that provides a great alternative to traditional grits.
Watermelon Sweet Tea
Sweet and cool beverages are common features in many homes in the south during summer. One of the most popular treats during Black History Month is watermelon sweet tea.
Food is not the only way to celebrate Black History Month. It is equally important as a time to learn about and remember the achievements made by African Americans, and their role in U.S. history.