In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson would create “Negro History Week” to ensure that schoolchildren would be exposed to Black history. This week would be established in the second week of February because it fell in between the birthdays of two important individuals to the Black community in the US at that time, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It wouldn’t be until 1976 that President Gerald Ford would nationally recognize the month of February as Black History Month.
Did you know that Black History Month has roots associated with the YMCA? The first YMCA for African Americans was founded by Anthony Bowen in Washington, DC in 1853. Bowen was born into slavery in 1809 and would move to Washington in 1826—a free man. Through his work at the United States Patent Office, where he would meet William Chauncy Langdon, a board member of the YMCA. Bowen became interested in the Y and worked to organize and open the first Y for African Americans in the United States