HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — African American/Black History Month runs through the month of February. It celebrates the achievements of African Americans and recognizes the role they ha ve played in United States history.
AABHM originally began in 1926 as Negro History Week, which was created by historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson’s goal was to use black history and culture as a tool in the struggle for racial equality by making black history accessible to a wider audience.
The 1920s saw a rise in interest of African American culture. This is best represented by the Harlem Renaissance where writers, musicians, and artists created art that celebrated blackness and provided positive images of the African American experience.
Woodson and his Negro History Week are a part of this larger movement. He was out to prove that blacks had played important roles in the history of America and thereby deserved to be treated as equals.
Celebrating important black figures in history would increase the positive parts of black life, at a time when few in academia or the media took notice of the black community other than to dwell on the negative. Ultimately Woodson hoped that Negro History Week would become an impetus for racial change.
The choosing of February was not on accident.
Woodson picked it to encompass both Abraham Lincoln’s on Feb. 12 and Frederick Douglass’ birthday on Feb. 14. In the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement many colleges and universities transformed the week into a month-long event on campus.
By the time President Ford decreed Black History Month a national observance in 1976 a number of mayors had already adopted the celebration as a municipal event. Every year, since 1976, presidents have officially designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.
The theme for this year’s observance is ‘African Americans in Times of War,’ which honors the men and women who have served in the armed forces.
Team Hill will recognize African American/Black History Month by hosting two events.
The first event will be an Arts & Eats on Feb. 9 from 6-8 p.m. in the basement of the chapel. It will showcase visual, dance, music, and spoken art from local African American artists along with food.
The second event will be a Gospel Extravaganza on Feb. 23 from 6-9 p.m. at Layton Christian Academy. A variety of gospel choirs from across the Utah valley will be participating in this event.
Please join the Hill AFB AABHM Committee and the base/local community as we celebrate and educate during AABHM.