Honoring the Struggles and the Triumphs

Examining the History and Celebration of Black History Month


Milford Public Library

Celebration: Rhonda Denet honors singer Aretha Franklin in celebration of Black History Month at the Milford Public Library, February 9, 2020.

          Black History Month is one of the most popular celebrations of people in the United States. It has been observed in the United States ever since President Gerald Ford officially recognized it in 1976. 

          Every president after Ford has continued to recognize the month of February as “Black History Month” and confirm its significance in society.

          The month-long celebration begins on February 1 and ends on March 1 of each year.

          Humanities teacher Mrs. Shauna Newall agrees that Black History Month needs to be celebrated, “Black History Month is very important to honor and celebrate members of the African American and Black community.”

          The history of Black History Month dates all the way back to 1926 when the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) established a nationwide “Negro History Week.” They chose the second week of February to celebrate. That specific week was chosen because it coincided with the birthdays of president Abraham Lincoln and famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

          By the late 1960s, the ASNLH transformed Negro History Week into an entire month of celebration.

          Not only is Black History Month celebrated all across the United States, but also in various places around the world. It has been officially recognized and celebrated in countries such as the United Kingdom (1987), Germany (1990), Canada (1995), and most recently, the Republic of Ireland (2010).

          The month is celebrated all across Milford. On February 2, 2023, the Milford Public Library will be hosting The Ruby and Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum, which is located in Stratford, CT. 

          According to a Milford Public Library social media page, “[The museum is] solely dedicated to telling of the struggles, as well as the triumphs, of African Americans throughout history.”

          In Milford Public Schools, principals of all academic levels have released messages related to acknowledging and celebrating not only black history, but the valued diversity and the societal contributions of all historically. 

          They also provide additional information on how students and their families can participate in the celebration of black history all across the state.

          Nationwide, President of the United States Joe Biden has designated the theme for Black History Month 2023 to be “Black Resistance.” The purpose of the theme is to showcase how African Americans have resisted oppression, hate crimes, and racial prejudice since the formation of the United States.

          Last year, in a speech honoring Black History Month, Biden remarked, “Black History Month is more than a celebration. It’s a powerful, powerful reminder that Black history is American history.”

          Many celebrate Black History Month not just by going to museums, but by supporting black-owned businesses, listening to music by black artists, and supporting black screen actors and directors. 

          In humanities classes at Foran, students are celebrating as well. 

          Newall adds, “We will be celebrating Black History Month by looking at some works of poetry by black authors.