NPSD Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month

The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, an African American historian, scholar, educator and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.  

A Few Fun Facts: 

On July 2, 1777, Vermont was the first colony to abolish slavery.

- Anthony Benezet, a white Quaker, abolitionist, and educator, is credited with creating the first public school for African American children in the early 1770s. 

- Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education that were founded in the years after the Civil War and are concentrated in the South. For a century after the end of slavery in 1865, most colleges and universities in the South prohibited all African Americans from attending. Institutions in other parts of the country regularly employed quotas to limit admissions of Black people. HBCUs were established to provide more opportunities to African Americans. There are currently 101 HBCUs. 

Juneteenth, which is short for “June Nineteenth,” marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed. The troops arrived two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  

- William Tucker, son of indentured servants from Great Britain, was the first recorded African American child to be born in the colonies in 1624. 

- Baseball legend Jackie Robinson had an older brother, Matthew "Mack" Robinson, who broke the Olympic record in 1936 in the 200 meter dash. He took home the silver medal because he finished behind Jesse Owens.

- Black musicians in New Orleans, Louisiana developed jazz in the early twentieth century. Early jazz musicians built on the blues and ragtime forms and improvised over them, which led to a brand new genre of American music. Jazz music is a broad style of music characterized by complex harmony, syncopated rhythms, and a heavy emphasis on improvisation.  

Interracial marriage was legalized in all states in 1967 following the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States under Chief Justice Earl Warren in the case Loving v. Virginia. At the time of this ruling,  interracial marriages were illegal in 16 states.


Upcoming Black History Events in the Philadelphia Area


Local History


The History of Black History Month

Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson

In 1919, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) dubbed "Lift Every Voice and Sing" the "Negro National Anthem" for its power in voicing a cry for liberation and affirmation for African American people. 


General Resources



Underground Railroad

During the era of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, places, and people that helped enslaved people in the American South escape to the North. The name "Underground Railroad" was used metaphorically, not literally. It was not an actual railroad, but it served the same purpose- it transported people long distances. It also did not run underground, but through homes, barns, churches, and businesses.

African American Art

African American Athletes