Black History Month

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month originated from "Negro History Week" created by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, the second week of February in 1926. Woodson and the Association chose this week because it coincided with Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays. "Negro History Week" expanded into what we now celebrate as Black History Month in 1970 and was officially acknowledged by the United States government.

Why do we celebrate Black History Month?

The video above is from the campaign Because of Them We Can
which strives to "educate and connect a new generation to heroes who have paved the way".

The United States celebrates Black History Month to recognize Black History as being a part of our collective story as a nation. It is an important time to remind us that Black History neither began nor ended with slavery, "America's Greatest Sin". The month is a time to share with younger generations both the struggles and pride of being a part of black culture. Black History Month is the perfect opportunity to open dialogue around the misconception, stereotypes, and discrimination African Americans still face in the United States today.  

What is The Center doing to celebrate?

Fahamu Pecou's
Talking Drum Reception

King and Youth
Involvement in the
Civil Rights Movement

Let Nobody Turn You
Black History Month Music Project

Click here to submit your songs

 Lunch and Learn
The Atlanta Way
Special Performances by:
The Atlanta Music Project
& Phusion Dance Company
The Atlanta Concert Series

The Center for Civil and Human Rights is open each Monday in February except for the 29th due to overwhelming demand for Black History Month. Celebrate this special month with a long lunch break to explore the courageous stories of civil and human rights. We also have 3 new exhibits that tie in to the exploration of Black History Month.

On February 11, there will be an artist reception for Fahamu Pecou and his new exhibit Talking Drum. There will be light bites, drinks, and you will be able to explore the whole museum. Click here to buy your tickets.

The Center has a variety of clothing, books, and other items on sale for the month as well.

Click here for full Black History Month events and exhibit details.

How is the rest of Atlanta celebrating?

February 6 - 23, 2016
February 18, 2016

Black History Month Parade

February 27, 2016

Click here to test your knowledge of the American Civil Rights Movement in honor of Black History Month!
Visit The Center to discover the answers in full detail! Be sure to share your results with us on Twitter (@ctr4chr) and Facebook.

This week in Civil Rights History

February 22

On February 22, 1832, the first all-female, all-black antislavery group formed in Salem, Massachusetts. .

They originated as the “Colored Female Religious and Moral Society of Salem” but in 1832 they changed their name as they entered politics. Their goals included: the right to vote, the end of oppressive racism, and fair treatment protected by law.

 February 23

On February 23, 1868 William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

The racial prejudice he experienced at Fisk University in Tennessee changed his perception on life. He entered the civil rights circles upon the publication in 1903 of his first major book Souls of Black Folk. The book demanded three basic rights for African Americans, the right to vote, civic equality, and the education of youth according to ability. His formation of the Niagara Movement would later become the NAACP.

February 24

On February 24, 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Montgomery, Alabama schools to end their dual education system.

This came 14 years after the end of segregation of public schools. It was only until Fred Gray, Rosa Park’s lawyer, filed a lawsuit that schools were fully desegregated in Montgomery.

February 25

On February 25, 1987, E.D. Nixon died.

Nixon was a civil rights activist and instrumental figure of the Montgomery bus boycott. He dedicated his whole life to the movement and spent his working life as a railroad Pullman car porter. He started the Alabama Voters League in the 1940s and lead a march to the Montgomery courthouse to register black voters. In 1948 he became president of the NAACP Alabama branch. Nixon posted Rosa Parks’s bail in 1955 while using his house as collateral.

February 26

On February 26, 1925, Robert Williams was born in Monroe, North Carolina.

Williams advocated for armed defense and resistance to the Klan and the White Citizens Council and became a primary influence of the Black Power movement. He became actively advocating for civil rights after the police beat and imprisoned an 8 and 10 year old for playing an innocent kissing game with white girls.

February 27

On February 27, 1897, Marian Anderson was born into poverty in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Anderson started singing in a children’s choir at six years old and was extremely talented. When her family could not afford voice lessons, her church paid for a tutor. Upon graduating high school, she experienced institutional racism for the first time as she was rejected from an all-white music school. After she won a competitions with the Philharmonic Orchestra, she became world famous. When she retired from music, she became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and was awarded the UN Peace Prize.

February 21

On February 28, 1943, race riots began in Detroit, which started with the booming economy triggered by the U.S.’s entrance into World War II.

In response to promises of high wages, African Americans from the south moved to Detroit but quickly found that the city was just as segregated as their homes. Among the many other forms of discrimination, white landlords were charging three to four times the fair market rates to African Americans. As the city began integrating existing public housing, whites began picketing and by February 27, there were over a thousand people, some armed, protesting outside the housing project with a cross burning in a nearby field. When two African Americans tried to move through the picket line to their new homes, violence erupted.