VCU Libraries Celebrates Black History Month
VCU Libraries celebrates the African-American experience and achievements in art, culture, history, literature and the sciences. Explore the collections, research guides, reviews, and special Black History Month Events.
Black History Month: A Brief Overview
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a native Virginian and Harvard historian, founded the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in 1915. The mission of this association was to train black historians and to collect, maintain, and publish documents in African-American history. Dr. Woodson also founded The Journal of Negro History (1916) and the Negro History Bulletin (1937).
Eleven years later, in 1926, he established "Negro History Week" to promote racial understanding and to coordinate the study of the African experience in American and world history. The name changed to "Afro-American (Black) History Week" in 1972. At that time, a convention of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Inc. changed their association name to the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. Black Americans wanted to focus on their African background and to recognize their specific contributions as American citizens.
The month of February was chosen for this celebration because it contained the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. During America's Bicentennial celebration of 1976, the Association shared prominently in the promotion of American history. The week-long celebration became Black History Month to allow more time for programs and study.