This blog is brought to you by Nebraska Methodist College’s Social Justice and Inclusion Council. Formed in 2017, the Council’s mission is to foster a socially just and inclusive NMC community and establish full and equal participation in all student affairs. Since its inception, the council has facilitated implicit bias training, hosted speakers and conducting surveys in order to work towards its mission.
February 2020 marks the 94th anniversary of Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans. To bring awareness to this designated month, the Council created a list of 5 things you need to know about Black History Month.
1. Black History Month started as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was a prominent African American Harvard-trained historian who was the son of former slaves.
His impetus for celebrating Black History was because he realized that “African-American contributions were overlooked, ignored and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.”
Still today, it is important for our country to celebrate Black History Month in order to remember and recognize the contributions of African Americans in our country.
2. Woodson selected Negro History Week, and now, Black History Month to take place in February because it marks the birthdays of two important men who had a great impact on African Americans in our country— Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
Frederick Douglass escaped slavery and went on to become an abolitionist and Civil Rights leader. Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery in 1863.
3. Since 1976, every U.S. President has chosen a theme for Black History Month. The theme for 2020 is “African Americans and the Vote.”
This theme was selected this year to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 15th amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote (1870) and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote (1920).
4. Since 1926, there have been many momentous events in Black History. In consideration of the anniversaries of the 15th and 19th amendments, we will highlight the campaign for president by Shirley Chisolm.
In 1968, Chisolm, who was a U.S. Representative from New York, was the first African American to run for a major party, and was the first woman candidate for president. Although she did not win, she received more than 150 delegates at the Democratic National Convention.
5. One way Nebraska Methodist College is celebrating Black History Month is through a showing of the Netflix documentary, “13th.”
This important documentary explores the "intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States.” It is named after the 13th Amendment to the constitution which abolished slavery.
We invite the NMC community to attend the FREE viewing of this film on NMC’s campus on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 11:30 a.m. All students and faculty are welcome to attend. Following the film, there will be time for discussion. Lunch will be provided.