Did you ever wonder why Black History Month is in February? No, it is not because it is the shortest month of the year. In 1926 historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History created “Negro History Week” in the second week of February because of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass‘s birthdays on the 12th and the 14th. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State University in 1970 and has since spread across the country. While February does contain many other birthdays of notable African Americans, you will find that important and influential people were born throughout the year. Some say that Black history is American history and should be taught and recognized all year long. That is definitely true, but no reason not to celebrate this month.
Here in Petaluma, the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum has an exhibit called, “Petaluma Blacks for Community Development 40 Years of Celebrating Black History Month- Reflections”, which tells the story of Petaluma’s black population since the 1800’s and highlights major local and national events during the last 40 years.