Image for Picks from Dr. Artika: Black History Month


African Americans have played an integral role in shaping arts and culture in the United States. This is why the theme of Black History Month 2024 is: African Americans and the Arts. Throughout the month of February, you can learn more about countless African Americans who used the arts to celebrate their heritage, engage in storytelling, and raise awareness about injustices.

Black History Month was founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. In 1926, Dr. Woodson launched Negro History Week. His goal was to celebrate and honor Black achievements and build a legacy of change. There are many misconceptions about Black History Month. Some believe that celebrating Black History Month in February is meant to minimize the significance of the contributions of the African American community since it is a mere 28 days (29 during a Leap Year) and not a full 30-31 days. However, the month of February was a deliberate and calculated choice. Dr. Woodson selected the month of February since it is the birth month of two individuals whom he deeply admired. He sought to honor Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass who both played a significant role in abolishing slavery. Historically, celebrations were held on their birthdays which are the 12th (Lincoln) and 14th (Douglass). Woodson sought to build upon this foundation. He decided to establish a new tradition of honoring the past contributions of Black leaders with the founding of Negro History Week. In 1976, U.S. President Gerald Ford proclaimed February as Black History Month. Over the past four decades, it has been celebrated annually.

~Dr. Artika R. Tyner

Dr. Artika R. Tyner is a passionate educator, award-winning author, sought-after speaker, and advocate for justice. She is the founder of Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, working to “plant people” while offering them key educational and learning opportunities. This organic process aims to cultivate a multicultural literary and leadership landscape that encourages both social and racial justice within individuals and communities.