February is Black History Month. The origins of Black History Month began with historian Carter G. Woodson launching Negro History Week in 1926. Woodson felt that teaching African American history was essential for the survival of the African American race.
In 1969, students at Kent State University proposed expanding Black History Week to Black History Month. The first Black History Month was celebrated a year later. In 1976, Black History Month was recognized by the federal government and has been celebrated ever since.
Today, heritage months can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, relegating culturally diverse books to specific months of the year can mean these books are overlooked the rest of the year. It can also separate Black history from American history, when in fact black history is American history. Continue reading
As February comes to an end, we round out Black History Month with a guest post by Pamela M.Tuck, author of As Fast As Words Could Fly. We asked her if there was one person she could choose to be as well-known or remembered as Rosa Parks, who would it be and why?
In a segregated all-black school, a young student was empowered by an African American motivational speaker from Washington, DC. It was 1960s North Carolina and this speaker, in the student’s mind, was famous. The young student was my mother, Pauline Teel, and the speaker was Cortez Peters.
In honor of Black History Month, we asked some of our authors and illustrators to reflect on the black historical figures who have meant the most to them. Today, Pamela Tuck, author of As Fast As Words Could Fly, reflects on Harriet Tubman:
I was “introduced” to Harriet Tubman in history class, and her story empowered me. As soon as people hear her name, they instantly think of an African American woman who led slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. The courage and bravery she exerted in risking her life shows how she also empowered others to believe in themselves and the promise of freedom. Harriet Tubman’s journey proves how one person can empower a community, a nation, or even the world.
It’s Black History Month, and that means another giveaway from Lee & Low Books! We’re giving away three sets of three books featuring African Americans, and the contest will run through February 29, 2012.
You may have noticed that the winners won’t get their books until after Black History Month. We think Black History Month is important, but black history is part of American History, and shouldn’t get relegated to one month out of the year. So enter below to win three great books to enjoy all year long!
Here’s how it works:
Author Glenda Armand (Love Twelve Miles Long) gave us food for thought in her BookTalk when we asked her if she thought her book could only be used during Black History Month. Here is her response:
“I think it can be read at any time of year: it is a story about mother-child relationships, about slavery, about American history, and about a great statesman. It is a story about family and tradition. And it’s a bedtime story.