Ayvaunn Penn, Techyville
From childhood, we are raised celebrating Black History Month. We see innumerable posters on classroom and hallway walls. We hear slews of special guest speakers spotlighting African-American achievements. Most of us even give our own miniature Black History Month speech in one class or another, and we just accept it. Thousands of citizens grow up thinking that Black History Month… magically exists. Because, it has always existed, right? Many never think about where it comes from or even who started it, because we are so busy remembering the great African-American names the tradition was created to celebrate. Today, however, all of that changes. Today, ye shall know the truth! Today, prepare to be enlightened.
It all started back on September 9, 1915. Dr. Carter G. Woodson – hailed as the Father of Black History — founded Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH). The mission of this organization, as cited by their website, is to “create and disseminate knowledge about Black History” while also laboring in service not only for Blacks but for all humanity. After consistently carrying out their mission for a number of years with the help of college presidents, government officials, celebrated poets, famed philosophers, and everyday people, it occurred to Woodson to dedicate a special week to highlight the achievements of notable African Americans. He began the tradition in the February of 1926, and it became known as Negro History Week. This, my friends, is the bud that has blossomed into what we know today as Black History Month. As explained on the ASALH website, the month-long tradition slowly began to take root prior to Woodson’s death in 1950, but it officially took off in the 1960’s.
So, this year when all of your friends, classmates, and co-workers are asking who invented the red light and who invented peanut butter, you can throw a major curve ball and ask “Who invented Black History Month?”. Better yet, YOU will know the answer.
The founder of Your Black Poets, Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. Click to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here.