The Importance of Black History Month and Why the Celebration Should Go Beyond the Month of February

Kahlia Williams, Staff Writer

You may find the month of February enjoyable for several reasons. Whether it’s Valentine’s day or finally getting a Monday off after 4 full weeks of school, there’s plenty to look forward to. However, the month of February designates a time for us all to honor and nationally recognize Black people’s significant contributions to American history, a celebration also known as Black History Month.

Carter G. Woodson, founder of Black History Month.

Once known as “Negro History Week”, established by historian Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month has expanded into the worldwide celebration we know today, with American presidents acknowledging the month and endorsing a theme every year, other countries participating such as Ireland and the U.K., and community events that can be found around the country. Even with the widespread recognition, trying to fit the celebration into one month, let alone the shortest month of the year, is impossible.

The exploration, celebration, and education of Black history does not have to end on February 28th. Whether learning more about past events like the Civil Rights Movement or supporting local Black businesses, no act is too small to lengthen the holiday. There is no doubt that the teaching and study of Black history in our educational system can be strengthened, but access to reliable resources like websites or novels is greater than ever before, making it easy for all of us to do our part in realizing Black people’s role in American history.

Although established as a critical time for learning, Black History Month is also a precious period for communities to come together and recognize people who changed and continue to change the world. Love is spread during this month, unity is seen, and the beauty within the Black community is honored. It is a true blessing to have Black history talked and written about, as that was once not the case, so regardless of one’s race, ethnicity, or background, any part taken in the exploration of Black history amplifies the importance of a community systemically overlooked and undervalued.

Black history is not reserved or restricted to only the month of February. Dig deep, go beyond topics you think you may already know, and support Black businesses. To begin or strengthen your search, find below only a few names of prominent Black figures, movies, and more whose impact on history and culture can continue to be seen today. 


  • Alvin Ailey 
  • James Baldwin
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Florence Griffith-Joyner (Flo-Jo)
  • Quincy Jones
  • Malcolm X
  • Sidney Poitier 
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe
  • Pam Grier
  • Eartha Kitt
  • Lena Horne
  • Muddy Waters
  • Dorothy Dandridge
  • Nina Simone
  • The Black Panther Party
  • Sly and the Family Stone



  • The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
  • Malcolm X (1992)
  • A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
  • Stormy Weather (1943)
  • Carmen Jones (1954)
  • Cooley High (1975)
  • Super Fly (1972)
  • Foxy Brown (1974)
  • Car Wash (1976)
  • The Wiz (1978)

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