31 January 2011

Black History Month

Today, I am quoting from the History Channel Club's January 25, 2011 newsletter introducing the origins of "Black History Month" to kick off our own Connections entries for February 2011.

"Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson was determined to raise awareness of African Americans' contributions to civilization by founding the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) in 1915. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History Week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming, and by Woodson's death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and the celebration was expanded to a month in 1976. Today, Black History Month is celebrated in schools and communities every February and the significance of African Americans to U.S. history is integrated into our nation's story all year round."

The 2011 theme for Black History Month is "African Americans and the Civil War." Given the enduring legacy of the Civil War and the key role of African Americans in this place during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, I'll have plenty of information to share with you via Connections throughout February.

Last chance reminder: The BDC is sponsoring an African-American Genealogy Workshop at the Hilton Head Branch Library, Feb. 2nd, from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. The hands-on class is free, but you must pre-register to attend. Basic computer skills a must (point, click, moving a mouse). Call 255-6525 or drop by the HH Reference desk to sign up.

Over the course of February, expect to read about digital collections, online exhibits, and local programs that share some aspect of black history with the community. Stay tuned!

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