“If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” - Carter G. Woodson
Black history month is a period set aside by some countries around the world to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of black people as well as recognize their contributions to history; allowing for a chance to learn more about African culture. Just in case you were wondering how and why the Black history month gained such significance, here are some background information.
Li Song of PRUDE Inc. and her cheerful volunteers
In an article by Jake Rossen, he cited that Black History Month originally began as “Negro History Week,” a label created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Carter Woodson, an African-American historian was bothered by the fact that many educational resources and other historical reviews overlooked or disregarded the inputs and works of black figures. So, along with his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History—which was later called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History—Woodson designated the second week in February to recognize these historical black figures and their stories.
PRUDE Inc. volunteers playing Mancala popularly known as Ayo or Ncho in Nigeria
A PRUDE Inc. volunteer teaching a child how to play the African Mancala
According to him, that week was significant because it covered the birthdays of Frederick Douglas (February 12) and Abraham Lincoln (February 14). The ensuing publicity led many mayors and college campuses to recognize the week; through the years, the groundswell of support allowed the occasion to stretch throughout the entire month.
A set of African chess pieces and board
Black History month wasn’t officially recognized in Canada until December 1995, when Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to Parliament moved the motion. Ever since, it has become an annual event. The 2020 theme for Black History Month is: "Canadians of African Descent: Going forward, guided by the past." This was inspired by the theme of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).
Participants at 'Your History Can Begin Today in Black and White', a Black History
Month event by PRUDE Inc.
This is the last week of the month-long celebration and if you are still wondering how you can be a part of it, here are 10 ways you can celebrate Black History Month before the end the week:
A collection of African Arts on Display at PRUDE Exhibition Centre
Visit a Black History Museum or Exhibition in your local area. If you are resident in the Greater Saint John Area, endeavor to visit the PRUDE Exhibition at Brunswick Square and get a chance to play the African Mancala or a game of chess with African chess pieces.
Patronize a Black business online or in your community
Support a local Black artist
Volunteer at or fund-raise for a Black organization in your local area
Mentor a Black child in your community
Organize or attend a Black culture event in your community
Read a book by a black author
Explore black music and movies (Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History is great choice)
Try an African recipe
Learn 5 new African words or phrases to expand your vocabulary
PRUDE Inc. Exhibition Centre at Brunswick Square Saint John, NB.
If you have other ideas on how we can celebrate Black History Month, please feel free to share with us and we'd be happy to publish them on our next blog post.
Until then, do have a fabulous week!