"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. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization." – Carter G. Woodson
In 1926, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, under the leadership of historian Carter G. Woodson, declared the week of Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays to be Negro History Week. Students at Kent State University are credited with proposing the first Black History Month, which took place on campus in 1970. President Gerald Ford in 1976 was the first to officially recognize the observance, saying, “The last quarter-century has finally witnessed significant strides in the full integration of Black people into every area of national life. In celebrating Black History Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideals envisioned by our Founding Fathers. But, even more than this, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Throughout the month, the National Urban League will honor the contributions and achievements of prominent Black Americans as a tribute to their courage and perseverance.