February marks Black History Month, a tribute to African American men and women who have made significant contributions to America and the rest of the world in the fields of science, politics, law, sports, the arts, entertainment, and many other fields. While Black History Month is synonymous with prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, George Washington Carver and Barack Obama, there are countless other African Americans who’ve made a profound impact in history: self-made millionaire Madam C.J. Walker, astronaut Mae C. Jemison, open-heart surgeon Daniel Hale Williams, inventor Garret Morgan, media mogul Oprah Winfrey and “Father of Black History” Carter G. Woodson, who lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide celebration, among many others. Explore biographies, videos and articles that celebrate their historic achievements.
Black History Month 2020 Theme
Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.
The Black History Month 2020 theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” is in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote.
In the Radical Reconstruction period that followed the Civil War, newly freed black men made great political gains, winning office in Southern state legislatures and even Congress. The Southern backlash was swift and marked by the passage of “black codes” designed to intimidate black voters, prompting a call for formal, national legislation on the right to vote.
The women’s rights movement grew out of the abolitionist movement, with activists like Frederick Douglas working alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton to secure the right to vote for all. That goal was reached with the passage of the nineteenth amendment in 1920.