By Sandi Waibel
Resident Race Relations & African American History Club Member
Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson Ph.D., a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher.
The son of a slave, Dr. Woodson was born in New Canton, Virginia in 1875. Following high school, he proceeded to study at Berea College, the University of Chicago, the Sorbonne, and Harvard University, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1912.
Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915 to train Black historians and to collect, preserve, and publish documents on Black life and Black people. Woodson spent his life working to educate all people about the vast contributions made by Black men and women throughout history. Dr. Woodson died on April 3, 1950. Black History Month is his legacy.
In 1976 as part of the United States Bicentennial, the U.S. government officially recognized the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month. President Gerald Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often-neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
During February, multiple groups within Riderwood will be celebrating Black History Month with a variety of events planned for all residents and staff. Riderwood’s African American History Club, chaired by Paul Pumphrey, is scheduling several activities to highlight not only some historical happenings in Black history, but also to recognize numerous successful endeavors of Black men and women.
Check February’s monthly calendar, the Riderwood Reporter, Riderwood TV, and the bulletin boards for complete details on all the various group’s events and activities. February promises to be a great month for all of us to learn more of the history Americans and the ways in which we can enhance the future together.