Black History Month was first created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, who wanted to celebrate the contribution African Americans made to the U.S. The event was originally celebrated for only a week, and one of which encompassed the birthdays of Abraham Lincohln and Fredrick Douglass.
As views on African Americans changed throughout the 60’s, the event became larger and a bigger deal to communities. By 1976, President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month officially during the nation’s bicentennial.
He told Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Centennial’s campus security guard, Joe Massey, loves learning about history, and during the month of February, he aims to inform people of an integrated history. Each day in February, he posts on his Facebook a fact or lesson about black history.
He says he notices that when people talk about black history, it’s usually about the tragedies they went through, and very rarely their accomplishments and achievements. Black History Month is a great time to celebrate what they have overcome.
Massey says his grandfather’s parents were white and black. In 1903, his grandfather was living in Mississippi, where he faced many racial problems there. His mother also faced problems because she was white, and had a mixed family.
Massey’s grandfather had a hard time trusting white people after the problems he faced with his family. He says that his grandfather’s stories about growing up as a mixed kid have impacted him as a person, and how he sees history.
He is glad that he can celebrate changes and recognize his family’s past as well as an integral part of his history.