Black History Month 2023: Theme, History, Origins and More

February is Black History Month, also known as African American History Month. The theme for Black History month 2023 will be Black Resistance. Find out about its theme, history, origins, and more
Black History Month 2023: Theme,History,Origins and more
Black History Month 2023: Theme,History,Origins and more

February is Black History Month, also known as African American History Month. Begun in 1976,  It is a month-long commemoration of African American history and achievement that takes place each February in the United States. 

It has also received official recognition in Canada and other states including the UK, Ireland, and Netherlands. The motive of the month is also to spread more awareness of Black History and struggles as the name suggests, so let's dig in deeper and find out what Black History Month is all about and why it is celebrated in the month of February.

Black History Month: When was it first celebrated?

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia


  • First celebrated in 1976, Black History Month was an idea developed by historian Carter G. Woodson and a group of fellow scholars, who together organized a Negro History Week, beginning in February 1926.
  • Negro History Week eventually prospered in popularity and in 1976 was expanded into African American History Month. 
  • U.S. President Gerald Ford encouraged Americans to celebrate the month in unity and liberty.

Black History Month: Origins And Beginnings 

  • In 1915, historian Carter G. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people available to the public at the time.
  •  During 1926, the association declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” in order to recognize the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. 
  • Few people studied Black history and it wasn't included in textbooks prior to the creation of Negro History Week.

Black History Month: Why is it Celebrated in February?

  • The month of February and the second week of this month were chosen because it incorporates the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist, who wanted to end the practice of enslaving people, and former U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. 
  • President Lincoln steered and guided the United States during the Civil War, which was primarily fought over the enslavement of Black people in the country. 
  • Later on, a majority of schools and leaders began acknowledging the week after its creation.
  • This week-long event officially became Black History Month in 1976 after  U.S. President Gerald Ford extended the recognition to  “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

 Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States every February since.

Black History Month: Observations Throughout The Years

  • In the early 21st century, Black History Month was celebrated with a span of events and activities at public schools, universities, and museums as well as within individual communities.
  •  Sponsored at the national level by such groups as the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum it has also received official recognition in 

 Black History Month 2023: Theme

  • The theme for Black History month 2023 will be Black Resistance. 
  • The theme explores how “African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings.”
  • In February the resistance of Black people over the years in the fight for self-determination, including through political activism such as the Civil Rights movement, sit-ins, boycotts, walkouts, and strikes, will be honored.

National Black History Month Timeline




Likely not the first appearance of African slaves in America, this is still a critical date in Black History. Colonist John Rolfe documents the arrival of a ship with “20 and odd” Africans who had been kidnapped by Portuguese and are brought to the New World.


slave revolt in American history is led by Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia. 


During the third year of the Civil War, US President Abraham Lincoln declares that enslaved people shall be “forever free”. 


American historian, Carter G. Woodson is determined to bring African American History to the forefront, so he begins with Negro History Week in 1926, which eventually develops into Black History Month.


First National Black History Month is observed

Bottom Line

All people, regardless of race or place, deserve the same rights and freedoms. For too long, Black and brown people in America have been denied equality because of the color of their skin.

READ| Important Days in February 2023: National and International Dates List

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