Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.
The Ice House Museum of Silsbee is proud to host a new exhibit, “Building Lives Through Sports,” in the Paret Gallery. This exhibit is in honor of an integral facet of Silsbee’s history and Black History Month in general.
The exhibit features photographs and articles of athletes and coaches who represented the excellence of students and faculty at Waldo-Frazier Mathews Schools and served as a legacy for the following generations.
The exhibit will be on view Feb. 6-23.
Museum hours are Wed.-Fri. from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sat. from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
In addition, the public is invited to attend a reception when the contributions of these valuable individuals and those they influenced will be celebrated.
The reception will be Saturday, Feb. 16 from 2-4 p.m. at the museum. Please make plans to attend.
The event grew from “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent.
Woodson understood the value of education. He also felt the importance of preserving one's heritage and, upon his urgings, the fraternity Omega Psi Phi created Negro History and Literature Week in 1920.
Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored 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.
In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson died in 1950, but his legacy continued on as the celebration of Negro History Week was adopted by cities and organizations across the country. This observance proved especially important during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, a time when the inhumane and unequal treatment of black people in America was being challenged and overturned. Black Panther Badge: Power to the People.
By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the Civil Rights Movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.
The Black Power Movement of the 1970s emphasized racial pride and the significance of collective cultural values.
President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."
Black History Month is now recognized and widely celebrated by the entire nation on both a scholarly and commercial level. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History continues to promote, preserve and research black history and culture year-round.