The African American Journey

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World Book editors have assembled a comprehensive look at the history of African Americans and their struggle for freedom. The articles in this feature were taken from the World Book . There are also numerous links to World Wide Web sites concerning important figures and events in black history, as well as issues surrounding current events. The history of African Americans is largely the story of their struggle for freedom and equality. This feature examines that struggle in sections beginning with the slave trade and continuing through the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960's.


Black History Month


Black History Month is an annual observance, in February, of the past achievements and current status of African Americans. It coincides with the birthdays of the great black leader Frederick Douglass (February 14) and of Abraham Lincoln (February 12).


John Riley, Director of Education at the White House Historical Association in Washington, D.C., talks about the role African Americans played in the history of the White House.


The idea for an observance honoring the accomplishments of African Americans led to the establishment of Negro History Week in 1926. It was proposed by Carter G. Woodson, a black historian known as the Father of Black History, and others. The observance became known as Black History Week during the early 1970's and was established as Black History Month in 1976.


The celebration is sponsored by the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in Washington, D.C., which Woodson founded in 1915. Each year, the ASALH designates a theme. The theme for 2000 is "Heritage and Horizons: The African American Legacy and the Challenges of the 21st Century."

The ASALH produces Black History Month Study Kits to help schools, colleges, ASALH branches, and other organizations celebrate the observance. The ASALH also provides information about Black History Month through its publications.


This article is from The World Book Encyclopedia.