Each February, the United States celebrates the accomplishments of African Americans through Black History month.
Black History Month found its beginnings in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
In September of that year, Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian and Jesse E. Moorland, a prominent minister of the times, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). Today, the organization is known as the Study of African American Life and History (ASAALH), which is dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent.
The group organized a National Negro History Week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
Throughout the month, local schools and organizations will be hosting a variety of activities to celebrate Black History Month and prominent African American figures throughout history.
Portsmouth Junior High School (PJHS) teachers Stephanie Warren and Jessica Smith have helped to organize a day dedicated to Black History Month for the students of PJHS.
On Feb. 17, students will rotate between classrooms every twenty minutes to learn about different figures from both the past and present.
“Each class will focus on a different area relating to Black History and will be lead by members of the community,” Warren explained. “This is the first year we’ve ever done anything like this, at least as far as I can remember. When I was in junior high school and high school, there wasn’t a huge emphasis on Black History Month, so I didn’t learn my history until I started searching myself and wondering about it.”
Warren said that the response from the students has been positive and many are looking forward to the events and activities planned.
But there are also opportunities for members of the community to participate and learn this month as well. Here are some planned activities and suggestions:
– Students from Shawnee State University can participate in Black History Month trivia night on Feb. 22 in the University Center Ballroom beginning at 7:30 p.m.
– Dr. Andrew Feight will be giving a presentation on Black History in Southern Ohio in the Clark Memorial Library, 940 2nd Street, at 5 p.m.
– You can visit the John P. Parker house, located at 300 North Front Street in Ripley. The house is a National Historic Landmark and was home to former slave and inventor John P. Parker from 1853 to his death in 1900, and was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Located just up the hill at 1652 Rankin Hill Rd, is the John Rankin House. Also a National Historic Landmark, built about 1816, it was home to Presbyterian abolitionist John Rankin, and was one of the original stops on the Underground Railroad.
These are just a few events that will be going this month, as the Daily Times learns of more, we will add them to our weekly Entertainment calendar, which runs every Thursday. If you have an event you would like to submit, please email [email protected]
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.