Topics in Focus
Celebrating Black History Month
To celebrate and commemorate the contributions to the United States made by people of African descent, American educator and historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The Black History Week was first celebrated in February 12, 1926. The second week of February was chosen for this celebration because it marked the birthdays of two people who had greatly impacted Black Americans' lives: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. In 2000, President Clinton proclaimed February as National African American History Month.
2014 Presidential Proclamation for African American History Month
Americans have long celebrated our Nation as a beacon of liberty and opportunity -- home to patriots who threw off an empire, refuge to multitudes who fled oppression and despair. Yet we must also remember that while many came to our shores to pursue their own measure of freedom, hundreds of thousands arrived in chains. Through centuries of struggle, and through the toil of generations, African Americans have claimed rights long denied. During National African American History Month, we honor the men and women at the heart of this journey -- from engineers of the Underground Railroad to educators who answered a free people's call for a free mind, from patriots who proved that valor knows no color to demonstrators who gathered on the battlefields of justice and marched our Nation toward a brighter day.
History of the Black History Month
Washington — Each February, Black History Month honors the struggles and triumphs of millions of American citizens over the most devastating obstacles — slavery, prejudice, poverty — as well as their contributions to the nation’s cultural and political life. Read more
Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial 1809-2009
Transcript: The Emancipation Proclamation
Transcript: The Gettysburg Address
Photo Gallery: Abraham Lincoln: Portraits of an Elusive Icon
Feature Article: The American Civil War: A Bloody Civil War Ends Slavery in America
Official Website: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC)