Black History Month is a remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Since 1976 this has been celebrated annually in the United States of America and Canada in February and this month is also referred to as African-American History Month.
This remembrance has its roots in 1926 when the United States' historian, Carter Woodson, spearheaded "Negro History Week." Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social conditions of African-Americans: former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and former slave, Frederic Douglas.
The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial, when then President Gerald Ford urged Americans to "Seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."
Carter Woodson believed in the dream that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. Many years later, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the great civil rights leader, would make this dream come alive. We recall his famous speech: "I Have a Dream."
Black History Month honors generations of African-Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.
The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African-Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all color on the subject of the contributions of African-Americans to our history and culture.
Our country owes a great debt of gratitude to our African-American sisters and brothers who overcame the evils of slavery and segregation, and inspired us to have a new appreciation for all people, regardless of their race, religion, color, or social status and to see the image of God in each one.
Most Reverend Michael Pfeifer, OMI
Bishop of San Angelo