NOW Celebrates Black History Month

The origins of Black History Month can be found in the life and work of Carter G. Woodson, known today as the “father of Black History.” He believed strongly that people needed to know their history in order to participate fully in current affairs. The group Woodson founded, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), works to promote the year-round and year-after-year study of African American history.

The ASALH describes the origins of Black History Month in this essay:

“As early as 1920, Woodson urged black civic organizations to promote the achievements that researchers were uncovering… Their outreach was significant, but Woodson desired greater impact. As he told an audience of Hampton Institute students, “We are going back to that beautiful history and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements.”

In 1925, he decided that the Association had to shoulder the responsibility. Going forward it would both create and popularize knowledge about the Black past.”

Today, the ASALH has the role of setting the Annual Black History theme, and the theme for 2024 is “African Americans and the Arts.” In announcing this year’s theme, the ASALH said,

“For centuries Western intellectuals denied or minimized the contributions of people of African descent to the arts as well as history, even as their artistry in many genres was mimicked and/or stolen. However, we can still see the unbroken chain of Black art production from antiquity to the present, from Egypt across Africa, from Europe to the New World.”

This month, we honor Carter Woodson, whose work sparked a shift in the way the history of Black resilience in and contributions to society is taught and understood, and also the grassroots movement he began—one that NOW members continue to support. Our activism and focus on social justice gives special meaning to Black History Month, especially at this critical moment for our democracy, when Black History is being denied and basic rights rolled back as more states move to disenfranchise, exclude, and marginalize Black and Brown voters.

Black History is not just something we study. It’s something we must fight for, every day.

Contact: Press Team,,