Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, is an annual commemoration that began in the United States. Governments in the United States and Canada have recognized it, and it has also been observed in Ireland and the United Kingdom more recently. It began as a way to commemorate significant figures and events in the African diaspora’s history. In the United States and Canada, it is observed in February, while in Ireland and the United Kingdom, it is observed in October.
In February 1969, black professors and the Black United Students at Kent State University suggested Black History Month. A year later, from January 2 to February 28, 1970, Kent State University hosted the first Black History Month event.
When President Gerald Ford acknowledged Black History Month in 1976, during the commemoration of the United States Bicentennial, it was being honored all throughout the country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture, and community centers, both large and small. “Seize the chance to commemorate the too-often overlooked contributions of Black Americans in every field of endeavor throughout our history,” he said.