February 2024 Diversity Blog


Black History Month

Black History Month is celebrated the entire month of February and was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. The month honors all Black people from every period in U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today. Black History Month is also officially recognized by the U.S. government. Black History Month actually began as “Negro History Week,” proposed by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. In 1926, Carter Woodson is known as the father of Black history since he lobbied schools to encourage the study of Black history and proposed “Negro History Week”. February was chosen for the initial week-long celebration. Fifty years later, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month and called upon the public to recognize the accomplishments of Black Americans and their contributions to society. In 1986, Congress passed a law that February would mark the beginning of the 60th annual public and private salute to Black history. The month offers people an opportunity to learn history, dig deeper, and find out more about Black leaders who sacrificed their livelihoods to provoke change and equality.

For more information, check out these links:

Black History Month Guide

“Black History is American History”; an engaging and impressive TedTalk by a high school sophomore.

Observances connected to Black History Month

February 1 – National Freedom Day: honors the day in 1865 when President Abraham Lincoln signed a resolution that became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery

February 4 — Rosa Parks Day: an observance to honor civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who was known for refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

February 14 – Frederick Douglass’ Birthday (Observed): After escaping slavery in Maryland, Frederick Douglass became the face of the abolitionist movement in the North.

February is also American Heart Month to take action to protect yourself against heart disease. This year the American Heart Association is celebrating 100 years of lifesaving work.

February DE&I calendar dates:

February 10 — Chinese New Year (Year of the Dragon): This signifies the first new moon of the lunar calendar. It’s a time rich in traditions and cultural festivities, often featuring family gatherings, special foods and diverse cultural rituals, and the giving of good-luck gifts.

February 11 – International Day of Women & Girls in Science

February 12 – International Epilepsy Day

February 13 – Mardi Gras: French for "Fat Tuesday", reflecting the practice of the last night of consuming rich, fatty foods in preparation for the fasting season of Lent

February 14 – Ash Wednesday: a holy day in many Western Christian denominations marking the first day of Lent, the 40 days before Easter. It is commonly observed with prayer, the distribution of ashes and with fasting.

February 14 – Valentine’s Day

February 15 – Nirvana Day / Parinirvana Day: Mahayana Buddhists throughout the world commemorate Buddha’s death and his entrance into complete Nirvana.

February 15 – Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday: honoring this women’s suffrage leader advocated for equal pay and the right to vote for women. She also was an active member of the Abolitionist movement alongside Frederick Douglass.

February 15 – International Childhood Cancer Day

February 20 – World Day of Social Justice: an international day recognizing the need to promote social justice, which includes efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender inequality, unemployment, human rights, and social protections.

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