The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”. This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 20, both of which dates black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century. Negro History Week was the center of the equation. The thought-process behind the week was never recorded, but scholars acknowledge two reasons for its birth: recognition and importance.Woodson felt deeply that at least one week would allow for the general movement to become something annually celebrated.
At the time of Negro History Week’s launch, Woodson contended that the teaching of black history was essential to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of the race within broader society:
If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. By 1929, The Journal of Negro History was able to note that with only two exceptions, officials with the State Departments of Educations of “every state with considerable Negro population” had made the event known to that state’s teachers and distributed official literature associated with the event”. Churches also played a significant role in the distribution of literature in association with Negro History Week during this initial interval, with the mainstream and black press aiding in the publicity effort. “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions”, Woodson wrote in his book The Miseducation of the American Negro. “You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Black History began as a week and grew to cover the month of February. Today we offer a scripture as prayer.
James 1 & Romans 5
Siblings, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting. Mothering Father God is faithful. Our prayer is that the God of hope, joy and faithfulness will strengthen and encourage all people to do the work of justice, social and racial. That all communities offer value and contribute to the common good in our shared sociality. We give thanks to mothering Father God that the suffering of a people produced perseverance. And perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Amen
Rev. Babette Chatman