The Association for the Study of African American Life and History always takes special pride at the opening of the month of February.
What began as Negro History Week in 1926 during February is now recognized as Black History Month all over the United States—in newspapers and television, in churches and businesses, and in school classes and the highest levels of government.
We recognize, as certainly did ASALH-founder Carter G. Woodson, that learning about the African American past and present contribution to this nation and the world demands far more than a week or month-long observance. Woodson praised schools and boards of education that incorporated Black History into American History, thus transforming the week into what he termed “Negro History Year.”
This year-after-year commitment is represented by the lives of persons who struggled from the time of America’s founding to this very day to make true the words “freedom and justice for all.”
Today, the Black History Month 2016 Proclamation of President Barack Obama honors this fundamental truth. It captures with sincerity and passion a belief in equality of rights and justice, as well as a challenge to all to recommit to the principle of human dignity. The proclamation also calls attention to the places where African Americans strove to make this nation better—through the Underground Railroad, on buses in Alabama, on the roads and streets where civil rights activists marched, and in the Obama White House. These are and will forever be sites of African American memories.
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham,
ASALH National President