About Black History Month
The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 because it encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial.
President Gerald R. 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.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the association—now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)—continues to promote the study of Black history all year.