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Black History Month

In 1915, educator and historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson undertook the task of writing Black Americans into the Nation's history by founding the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which was later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. It was through this organization that Negro History Week was first celebrated in 1926 and subsequently, Black History Month was established in 1976.

Dr. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marked the birthdays of two people who had greatly impacted Black Americans' lives: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. However, February has much more than Douglass and Lincoln to show for its significance in Black history. For instance:

February 23, 1868: W.E.B. Dubois, an important civil rights leader and cofounder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was born.

February 3, 1870: The 15th Amendment was passed, granting Blacks the right to vote.

February 25, 1870: The first Black U.S. senator, Hiram R. Revels (1822-1901), took the oath of office.

February 12, 1909: The NAACP was founded by a group of concerned Black and White citizens in New York City.

February 1, 1960: In what would become a milestone in the civil rights movement, a group of Black college students from Greensboro, North Carolina, staged a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter.

For more information about VA's National African American Employment Program, contact the program manager.

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