Black History Month is celebrated every February as an homage to the achievements of African Americans who have shaped American history. The idea for a way to celebrate African American achievements started in 1915 by historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African American figures of his day. The Harvard-trained historian and others in his group wanted a way of promoting achievements of African Americans. That group is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life History.
The group chose the second week in February in 1926 to celebrate “Negro History Week.” The week was symbolic in that it was the same week of the birthdays of former President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and prominent abolitionist movement activist. In the late 1960s, the week evolved into an entire month, thanks in large part to the civil rights movement. Black History Month takes on a special meaning in 2020 — the 100-year anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, and the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment, which granted black men the right to vote.
The theme for 2021, "The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity", explores the wide-ranging diversity of black family life -- from single to two-parent households to nuclear, extended and, more recently, bi-racial. Throughout black history, factors such as slavery, inequality and poverty have put pressure on maintaining family ties, when a better life meant traveling far from home.
This may certainly be the reason why family reunions have always remained popular within the African American community, as meetings of far-flung relations take place each year with a joyful exchange of memories, photos and storytelling. Paradoxically, economic pressures that may pull black families apart also often unite them.
That is, against prejudice and bigotry, many black families may pool resources or find job opportunities, or simply find emotional comfort within their own micro-community. In that respect, "brothers'' or "aunties" may be good friends or neighbors who simply qualify for the title. Throughout American history, the black community has always exhibited an unwavering understanding of the value of family -- as an incomparable source of comfort, strength, and even survival.