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Celebrating Black History Month 2024: The Origin & Importance of Black History Month

Updated: Feb 22

As February approaches, The Lantern Network is thrilled to join the nation in commemorating Black History Month. This special time provides an opportunity to recognize and pay homage to the remarkable accomplishments of Black Americans throughout history. In 2024, we're putting the spotlight on African American women in the arts, shining a light on luminaries like Lois Mailou Jones and Augusta Savage. In this blog series, we'll delve into why Black History Month is essential and how it aligns with The Lantern Network's mission.

Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is a time to honor the struggles and triumphs of Black people in their fight for civil rights and equality. It's a moment to appreciate the invaluable contributions made by Black individuals to our society. This observance traces its origins back to the pioneering work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a distinguished Black historian and educator. In 1912, Dr. Woodson became the second African American (following W. E. B. Du Bois) to earn a doctorate in history from Harvard University. In 1926, he initiated "Negro History Week," strategically coinciding with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both pivotal figures in ending slavery and combating racism.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson's mission to establish "Negro History Week" was deeply rooted in his passionate desire to rectify the glaring absence of Black history in the educational curriculum of his time. He was profoundly motivated by the need to acknowledge and celebrate the rich history and achievements of Black Americans, often ignored or misrepresented. Dr. Woodson believed that by spotlighting the significant contributions of Black individuals to American society, especially in the realms of culture, science, politics, and the arts, he could help break down racial stereotypes and foster a sense of pride and unity among Black people.

Despite numerous challenges, including racial prejudice and institutional resistance, Dr. Woodson remained resolute in his mission. He persevered with meager funds and a dedicated team, navigating financial constraints while promoting a nationwide celebration of Black history. In 1976, "Negro History Week" expanded into what we now call Black History Month. Since then, it has evolved into a platform for recognizing the historical, cultural, and social achievements of Black Americans. It's not just a time for learning; it's a moment to reflect and celebrate, with the goal of promoting understanding, inclusivity, and unity among all Americans.

At The Lantern Network, our mission aligns perfectly with the essence of Black History Month. We are committed to strengthening America by providing mentorship, teaching essential skills, promoting financial literacy, and supporting entrepreneurship among young Black Americans. We believe in a united America where people are valued for who they are, not the color of their skin.

For us, Black History Month is a way to show our respect. We pay tribute to the monumental achievements of African American leaders who have made history. We understand that Black Americans have made valuable contributions in various fields, including the arts. In particular, African American women in the arts have shattered stereotypes and told powerful stories through their creative work.

In 2024, we're thrilled to focus on African American women in the arts. These women have left their mark on the artistic world, challenging stereotypes and creating beautiful art. We'll embark on a journey to uncover the stories of these remarkable women, shedding light on their lives, their artistry, and their lasting impact. Visit the blog section of our website weekly to learn about the women we highlight.

As we celebrate Black History Month, The Lantern Network invites you to join us in supporting the next generation of Black leaders. Dive deeper into our mission and discover how you can contribute to empowering young Black Americans in their educational and career pursuits. Click here to explore our programs, read success stories, and learn how your involvement can make a real difference. Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our page to stay updated on how we're making history today.

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