Black History Month: Its Origins and Humble Beginnings

The origins of Black History Month initially started in Chicago in the midst of summer in 1915. During this time, Carter G. Woodson who was an alumnus of the University of Chicago traveled to the state of Illinois to take part in a nationwide celebration of 50 years of emancipation. A large number of African American people came from different parts of the country to view exhibits that reflected progress that African-Americans have made since slavery was abolished. Even though this celebration was held at the Illinois Coliseum, which was also home to the Republican convention of 1912, an estimated 6,000-12,000 people patiently waited outside to see the exhibition. Being inspired by the celebration, which lasted for three weeks, Woodson made a decision to create an organization geared towards the promotion of the study of the lives of African-Americans, mainly through science. On the day of September 9, Woodson arrived at the YMCA of Wabash, meeting with A.L. Jackson and 3 others. Together, they formed the now historic group, the Association of the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH).

Woodson had a strong belief that historic scientific events that were published would change race relations for the better. He believed that this would be achieved by destroying the widespread untruths regarding the achievements of African-Americans and Native Africans. He had hopes that more individuals would promote the findings that his group would publish in The Journal of Negro History, which was made in 1916. Woodson advertised his ideas, heavily persuading black organizations of civic leaders to help promote the achievements that his research team had discovered. He worked with his college fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, to create Negro History and Literature Week or Negro Achievement Week. The results of their efforts were very positive. However, Woodson had bigger ideas that he wanted to achieve.

These efforts were the beginning of the progressive idea of celebrating black history, along with a vision to reflect on the great achievements and historical timeline of the plight of African-Americans. During the 1940s, West Virginia African-Americans started to celebrate February as Negro History Month. In the time of the Black Pride movement of the 1960s, Negro History week would expand to Black History Month. Frederick H. Hammurabi, a cultural activist, began celebrating Negro History Month during the mid-1960s. By the time of the late 1960s, many young Black college students began learning more of their African heritage, thus promoting Black History Month through the community at a speedy pace. The transition to the celebration becoming a month-long event began before the death of Dr. Woodson, which occurred on April 3, 1950.

The historical fight to reflect the achievements of African-Americans were part of an ongoing universal plight for equality. These efforts have since been reflected in many industries, such as healthcare. For example, kry.care is an organization with a global vision of providing health care that is equal, along with accessible, to people of all types. These type of ongoing efforts help continue the universal goal of equal rights for people of all backgrounds.

Slavery Unleashed

Art – A Graphic Reminder of Slavery

In this modern day world, we live in, one does expect to hear or encounter the world slavery let lone experience it; but there are some parts of the world where modern-day slavery still exists. It is estimated that there are about 40 million people in the world that are currently in modern day slavery. Slavery can take many shapes and form including forced marriage, human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage and many others. What is astonishingly atrocious is the people who carry out these crimes. Imagine if the people who commit these terrible crimes against other human beings were to walk a mile in their shoes and experience what these slaves were going through? How would they feel?

The Lynching Memorial

This is what the new memorial at Montgomery, Alabama tries to achieve. The lynching memorial depicts the horrors of slavery and the struggles that slaves had to endure. The memorial honours the lives of more than 4000 black people who were victims of lynching due to the racism of that era in the United States Of America. By showcasing their names and depicting controversial sculptures of slaves near the memorial site, Bryan Stevenson who created the Equal Justice Initiative, responsible for the memorial, believes that the site will encourage more dialogue between different folks in the city. He believes that by talking about slavery people will become more sympathetic to the injustice that befell the African American community of that era and people of all colours can come to terms with their past, make peace with it and eventually remember not to repeat the mistakes ever again. One thing is for sure; talking about slavery is not enough, especially when it comes to modern-day slavery which is a real human rights issue. What will make all the difference, on the other hand, is actually doing something about this problem.

Freedom From The Chains

A New African American Culture

The African migration into the American either by own volition or through slavery has had a profound influence on the American Culture. Anthropologists, as well as cultural analysts, have worked tirelessly to analyse the overall effect of the African-American cultural intermarriage. When Africans were transiting through the Indian and Atlantic Oceans they took with them African customs, traditions, values, and even taboos. Dancing styles, systemized beliefs, and religious practices were also taken to the American land. Owing to a number of factors such as intermarriages between the blacks and White American, a set of new people “Black Americans” emerged. Their cultural orientation is significantly different from the two latter groups. However, this distinct culture bears some resemblance to some original practices of either American or African descent.

The Growth African-American Culture

A lot has been discussed concerning the flourishing of the African-American culture in the post-slavery period. However, it is the period between 1920 and 1930 that witnessed concerted efforts towards embracing this new cultural reality. The Harlem Renaissance, for instance, provided a crucial platform on which African-American music, literature, and art works were espoused. This has hitherto culminated into a number of global platforms through which the art world’s response to the birth of Black Power has been expressed. Such exhibitions are held annually with some catchy titles such as ‘The Soul of a Nation’, which focuses on the lives of black people between 1963 and 1983. The African-American cultural movement that was launched in the early 1960s immensely contributed to the growth of this culture by promoting ethnic cohesion and racial pride. It also buttressed efforts that were geared towards African-American literature and artistic expressions.

A Summary Of African-American Culture

After the migration of African into the new land of American, there was great culture shock between the blacks and American whites. As time went on, the African intermarried, co-worked and lived in the same neighbourhoods with the Americans. This led to the rise of African-American culture that has continued to grow to date.The kind of music and the slang language developed by African-Americans are an indispensable part of American culture today. The Kitenge fashion with its origin in Africa is a major outfit in the American soil. Well-established online sites like the https://www.barnebys.co.uk/ have dedicated entire web pages on some of the cultural outfits that were introduced to the Americans by the migrating Africans. Paintings, as well as other early African paintings are also available. From clothing to ancient weapons all can be accessed at www.Barnebys.co.uk

The creators of Blues music

Around the 19th century the amazing music genre blues was born, some say in the american south. It has a deep and tragic story behind it though. To feel “blue” means that you’re somehow feeling sad and that’s very true. The music genre blues is originated from African musical traditions, African-American work songs, spirituals and folk music.

African-American work songs is a nicer name for slavery work songs. The slavery was very rough, specially in the south of USA.

The music genre blues is something truly amazing though. Some say that the most beautiful and emotionally moving songs are blues.

Mississippi John Hurt was a blues artist who was born in 1893. He was an amazing artist who learned how to play the guitar when he was only 9 years old.  It evolved and he started playing guitar and singing in local pubs and parties and he became a great singer. A little down the road he was signed by a music label, then he got a small career that didn’t last very long. Sadly he returned to his home town of Avalon and started working as a farmer. He only released to songs with the music label, one of them was Louis Collins.  The song is about a mother, Mrs. Collins, who’s sad that her son is leaving to join the army.

To truly experience the real blues music you should go to the american south and walk the same blocks that these old blues legends used to walk and find inspiration in. You can find cheap and nice flights to your favourite blues-town destinations at http://avionero.com/.

Another great blues musician was also born in Mississippi, Nehemiah Curtis James, also known as “Skip James“. Skip James wasn’t born in Avalon as Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James was born in Bentonia.

Skip James was born in 1902 and passed away in 1969. During his musical career he managed to learn how to play the guitar and the piano. He recorded his very first album with the music label Paramount and it was released in 1931. Due to the economic depression at the time it wasn’t very easy to sell alot of records. The music label didn’t like the fact that so few records were sold and Skip James didn’t record anymore music in over 30 years.

But in the year of 1960 he was rediscovered by three other blues musicians. Their discovery lead to that Skip James played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964, and he kept on playing at several folk and music festivals until his passing in 1969.

During these years Skip James recorded alot of music and lots of his songs have been interpreted by lots of other musicians.

 

Going Back in Time with Afro-American History

 

Afro American History makes up a very important part of the American heritage and is something that should be studied by everyone. The contributions that the African people have made across the globe should never be forgotten. Neither should the long history of hardships that were faced be downplayed or set aside.

What does looking at Afro American History Mean?

Looking at Afro American history means recognizing how it pertains to the African Americans that played a role in the US that helped to create the foundation for this country and their contributions.

It is of such importance that February has been designated as Black History Month and is celebrated by all walks of life. It means looking at the many years of slavery and the revolts that have been documented throughout history that led to freedom. It includes looking at those figures who were prominent throughout the years with their contributions towards the African American population.

Looking at Slavery

Slavery took its roots in America in Hampton Virginia. It was Massachusetts that was the first region to make slavery legal. Originally slaves were kept in captivity to act as servants but after a period of time they would be released only to be replaced by new slaves. Once this practice became legalized slaves were no longer set free and their children inherited the same slavery conditions as their parents were exposed to.

The Time Line

While there were many slavery revolts of varying degrees that results in additional hardships and bloodshed some of these revolts were more prominent than others. When looking back into black history one has to go all the way back to 1619 when the first African American slaves arrived. It wasn’t until 1808 that the importing of slaves became illegal as a ruling of congress.

While in the years following more steps were being attempted to free slaves and abolish slavery it was still very much in existence. In 1857 it was determined that Congress held no authority when it came to putting bans in place regarding slavery as slaves were not considered to be citizens.

When Abraham Lincoln took office it was a welcoming event for many. The Southern States were not happy about this and especially when in 1863 when Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation that rebellious territories had to free their slaves and these slaves were never to be held in captivity again.

While it may have been thought that end of hardship and persecution had come to an end after this point that was not the case.

In 1866 The Civil Rights Act is passed and all blacks are considered to have the same equal rights as the whites. However, at the same time the Ku Klux Klan reared its ugly head starting in Tennessee.

Prominent People Involved in African American History

 

It takes people to bring about change and that is exactly what it took to abolish the slavery of the African American people. Throughout the history of the African Americans a long list of prominent people can be named. Both those who played a role in obtaining freedom for slaves and those who after their freedom fought and stood up for their rights will long be remembered.

William Lloyd Garrison

Mr. Garrison was truly a voice for the American slaves and was able to make his stance for them through the newspaper The Liberator which he co-founded with Issac Knapp in 1831. William became active in the anti-slavery movement at the young age of 25.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet being a slave herself managed to escape from this bondage. Instead of going into hiding and keeping a low profile Harriet played a major role in the formation and carrying out of the famous underground railroad. It has been estimated that about 75,000 slaves found their escape from the North as a result of this railroad.

Abraham Lincoln

The voice for freedom of the African Americans. The one man who had the power to set the slaves free in the rebellious states.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Although slavery was abolished and the African Americans were supposed to be considered equal with whites this was certainly not evident or being practiced in many of the individual states. Martin Luther King Jr. became a strong voice for the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks

Rosa is an example of just how one person speaking out and standing up for their rights can make a difference. Between the 1950’s and the 1960’s racism was faced head on by people like Rosa that made a difference for the future.

Thurgood Marshall

Yet again another voice for the African Americans who used is expertise in the law to gain traction for civil rights. His involvement played an important role in segregation matters especially in segregation in the Schools. While slavery was no longer an issue civil rights were.

This is just a short list of some of the many that hold recognition in the African American black history. There are many more equally as important both black and white in color that can be added to this.

Important African American Slavery Revolts

 

It would be inconceivable to even imagine that revolts would not transpire when the horrific transgressions against the African Americans was in existence as it was during the slavery period. There were many revolts with some being more prominent than others and that gained recognition as being part of the African American history.

1739

While slaves were under the stringent rules of the white population their conditions were for the most part deplorable and understandably slaves were taken to their breaking point where the dangers of revolt outweighed the dangers of their captivity. This rebellion was a classic example of this where it is deemed that it was the largest slave revolt to take place within the colonies. The slaves that participated were estimated to be about a hundred and managed to hold off their captors for more than a week before facing defeat.

1741

Albeit considered to be a small rebellion the New York City Rebellion was based on a group of African Americans taking credit for the setting of several fires some of which were executed.

1831

The rebellion of Nat Turner was one of the most highly recognized even though it only started with a group of small followers comprised of five that turned into eighty as they progressed through their killings of white people as they moved through the farm land. It is estimated that they racked up a death toll of 60 whites. While this may seem small in comparison to the what was taking place among the blacks it was enough to strike fear in the hearts of their captors.

While these are just a few examples of the more noted revolts there were many others that were consistently taking place throughout the slavery period.

A Little About The Underground Railroad

 

Throughout the years of slavery while most whites were in favor of it there were some that were totally against it. The small groups who want to see slavery abolished were both black and white. As a result a network was developed to help African Americans escape to places where they would be safe like Canada and some of the states that had abolished slavery. This network was dubbed the underground railroad. It was comprised of developing safe routes for escape and providing housing along the way.

There is no doubt that this network was successful and laid a path to freedom for many slaves. It is indicated that when it was in full operation that about 1,000 slaves a year were able to make successful use of it.

The secrecy of this network was able to be upheld because it was organized in small groups. Those involved only were aware of what role they were to take in aiding with an escape and were not privy to the entire plan. This made if much more difficult to be infiltrated.

Many people both black and white risked their lives for the sake of the underground railroad.

Prominent African American Women

 

While there are many women who played an important role throughout the slavery years there are just as many who have contributed in some very positive ways to the rest of the African American history.

Hattie McDaniel

African American women had to fight hard for their rights and be recognized as an integral part of society. While there were many that did this Hattie McDaniel has to be recognized for her achievement as being the first female African American woman to be on the radio.

Madam C.J. Walker

No stranger to slavery Madam Walker was born into it as both her parents were slaves. She took on her first husband at the age of fourteen. What brought Madam Walker into recognition was her success at becoming the first black woman to become a millionaire. No easy feat as she worked to gain this with her development of a wide range of hair care products for black women.

Michelle Obama

We have to look at the present because there will be no mistaking that Michelle Obama will become part of black history as the first African American to become the first lady.

The Importance of African American History

 

Learning about the history of mankind serves many important purposes. Each generation of African Americans has the right to know about their heritage and the roles their ancestors played in history. They can only gain this knowledge and form an appreciation for it if it is available to them and they can freely access it.

Not only is African American History important for the African Americans but is important to everyone no matter what their color, culture or heritage is because it keeps the doors of communication open and can be instrumental in eliminating racism and hatred. Most of which is bred through fear as a lack of education and understanding about all races.

Black history month which is celebrated in February is not just to be revered by the African Americans but is open for all people to celebrate and come together to learn and educate themselves. This history is just as important to the white race because of the role they played in the history back then and history now in the making.