Celebrating Black History

Celebrating Black History

By: Christen Bourgeois Date: February 6th, 2024

Join the HIPRC in learning and reflecting on the achievements, influences, legacies, and contributions of Black Americans.

Image commemorating Black History Month 2024. Courtesy of UW Medicine.
Colors of Black History Month. BLACK represents the melanated skin color of Africans or people of African descent; YELLOW represents optimism, justice and equality for all people; GREEN symbolizes Africa’s rich greenery and other natural resources; RED symbolizes the excruciating bloodshed people of color underwent during the battle against slavery, racism and colonialism. Courtesy: UW Medicine, The Huddle.


Black History Month (also known as African American History Month and Celebration of the African Diaspora) began as Negro History Week in February of 1926. Fifty years later, President Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976 as a month-long national observance occurring in February.

Each year, communities across our nation rise together to celebrate Black History with respect to establishing safe and equitable spaces, where all Black life will continue to be sustained, fortified, respected and honored. As we reflect what it means to be Black in this country, let us focus our actions and interactions on our responsibility to bring about change.

How did it begin?

In February of 1926, U.S. Scholar Carter G. Woodson (also known as the “founding father of Black history”) established Negro History Week.

Woodson, the son of formerly enslaved people (Anne Eliza Riddle Woodson and James Henry Woodson), worked as a coal miner while pursuing his education, culminating in becoming the second African American to earn a PhD from Harvard. In 1912, Woodson launched the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) to create educational curricula and share the achievements of African Americans.

“Education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.” — U.S. Scholar, Carter G. Woodson

In 1926, Woodson started Negro History Week to share Black history and celebrate both culture and accomplishments. The weeklong celebration expanded to a month in 1976 and continues to be a time to reflect on the contributions Black people have made to the world. It is also a time, as is every month of the year, to focus on the impact of systemic, structural and institutional racism and the continued need for social justice.

Today, the United States, Canada and United Kingdom celebrate Black history during the month of February to encourage people of all ethnic and social backgrounds to recognize and discuss systemic racism, the Black experience and give visibility to people and organizations creating change in our communities, and world. In the month of February, we also celebrate African American contributions in the arts.


ASALH dedicates its 98th Annual Black History Theme to “African Americans and the Arts” exploring the varied history and life of African American arts and artisans.

In celebrating the entire history of African Americans and the arts, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) puts into the national spotlight the richness of the past and present with an eye towards what the rest of the twenty-first century will bring. Learn more about Black History Month themes >>

Educational Resources //


A recent article by THE LANCET analyzed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirming the disproportionate rate of interpersonal violence (IVP) targeting Black Women 🖤 Read Racial inequities in homicide rates and homicide methods among Black and White women aged 25–44 years in the USA, 1999–2020: a cross-sectional time series study and other educational articles below:



Courses & Projects



American Heart Association – Black History Month “Be the Beat” CPR Playlist >>





  • BlackPast – THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT TIMELINE, 1905-1975 >>


Care, Support & Resources //

While Black History Month is a time for celebration, this is an important time to remember to practice self-care, focus on our well-being and health:

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African-Americans are 30 percent more likely to die from Heart Disease. The NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have digital downloads with tips to improve Heart Health:

Celebrations, Events & Exhibitions //

Seattle Met – How to Celebrate Black History Month in Seattle
Throughout 2024
Readings, performances, and exhibits on Black History fill this month with reflection and learning. Explore, connect, and attend an event >>

Seattle Magazine – Seattle’s Guide to Black History Month
Throughout 2024
Celebrate Black culture, history, and community through February and beyond. Attend an event >>

2024 Guide to Black History Month Events in Seattle
Throughout 2024
Let’s celebrate the contributions of the African American community by attending a Black History Month event in Seattle. February is filled with dozens of interesting events throughout the city —art exhibitions, workshops, discussions, storytelling, and more. Attend an event >>