February is Black History Month

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by and recognition of African Americans in U.S. history. 

What we know today as Black History Month has its origins in "Negro History Week," created by historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans in 1915. That September, Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which is known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The group chose the second week of February to coincide with Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass's birthdays. 

Mayors of various cities across the country began issuing proclamations for "Negro History Week" in the years that followed and on some college campuses, the week-long event evolved into a month-long observance. 

In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling up on all American citizens to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Each year the President endorses a specific theme for the month. This year's theme is "African Americans and the Arts," making the month an exploration and celebration of "visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression."

Johnson County Library has so many resources it might be hard to choose which to read, listen to, or participate in, so it’s good we get to celebrate all month long. Black History Month began on Feb. 1 and ends March 1.   

Source: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month

Johnson County Library has a variety of resources to read, listen to, or participate in, so it’s good we get to celebrate all month long. 

Get Started with Primary Sources 

Local History 

  • The Legacy of Corinthian Nutter – Learn about the major contributions Ms. Nutter made in Webb v. School District 90 (located in Merriam, KS), which ended segregation five years before Brown v. the Board of Education. 
  • JoCo History Collections - Historical photographs and maps documenting the people, places and organizations of Johnson County. 
  • Olathe’s early African-American community –Kansas’ anti-slavery legacy offered a fresh start for many former slaves and their families after the Emancipation Proclamation.