The Evolution of Black History Month

Happy Post - Black History Month! If this article were a church service, I would ask you to open your Bible and meet me in John 14:12.  For there we would find the words, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” From those words, I would then say, I would like to preach from the thought – A greater dream is coming.


History teaches us that the observation of Black History dates to 1915, when Carter G. Woodson, now known as the “Father of Black History”, created an organization called the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926 (almost one hundred years ago), Woodson initiated the first “Negro History Week” during the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.


By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Carter G. Woodson’s dream was expanded, and "Negro History Week" evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. Although, it might look and feel as though February was systematically designated as the month whereby the first slaves that arrived to the Jamestown Colony (North America) in 1619 could celebrate anything, Black History Month has only been recognized by America since President Gerald Ford in 1976 officially called upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”[1]


Seeing how the dream has expanded from a week to an official month after 50 years, the question that we must now ask ourselves is how are we preparing to magnify the dream as we draw closer to the 50th Anniversary of our original week expanding to a month? Therefore, how might we declare a greater dream is coming as we exhibit the 2022 Black History Month theme, “Black Health and Wellness” throughout Las Vegas?


Can you imagine what our communities might look like if we collectively practice and preach sermons on how we need to start preparing the next generation to not crawl but be able to run into our next Canaan like experience?


Can you imagine what our communities might look like if we cohesively practice and preach sermons on how we must be mentally and not just physically strong enough to cross our next Red Sea, slay our next giant, and survive our next Fiery Furnace?


Can you imagine what our communities might look like if we courageously practice and preach sermons that challenge us as a people to not treat the Daniel fast as a diet, but as a spiritual lifestyle and awakening. For we will never do greater works until we learn, like Daniel, how to fast and be consecrated from believing that we will only find satisfaction and our purpose in life after eating and drinking from the King’s Table.


Beloved - Today is a great day for us to learn from our global legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners that predates 1619, so that when children (50 years from now) look at our version of the pictures that were developed from the lens of photographers like James Van Der Zee, Ernest Withers, Carrie Me Weems, Gordon Parks and Michelle V. Agins, they will see how we were able, like Hanaiah (Yah is gracious), Mishael (who is what God is), and Azariah (Yah has helped) to mentally and physically not look like what we have been through under the administrations of each and every president post Ford that have done enough to treat us, but not to cure us.


I have a dream, seeing that I too am a King. And my dream involves seeing us as people wholeheartedly remembering and reflecting the fact that Jesus not only said, my meat is to do the will of Him that sent me (John 4:24), but how man must not live on bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).


Let us work to be transformed from the mental and physical diets and rituals that have nothing to do with our history, because greater awaits us.