Monday marks the start of Black History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to the U.S. while recognizing that the fight for racial justice continues.
The theme of Black History Month this year is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.”
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) chose the theme, as it does every year: Past themes include “Black Migrations,” “Black Women in American Culture and History” and “The Niagara Movement,” among others.
“While the role of the black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the ‘foundation’ of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective,” a summary by the ASALH read.
Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week — the precursor to Black History Month — in 1926, hoping to create a time to showcase lessons about Black history for the public, according to the ASALH website. In 1976, then-President Gerald Ford expanded the week into Black History Month.
Ford called on all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.