Established by the U.S. government in 1976, Black History Month occurs every February. It’ s a time to recognize the contributions of American-Americans in U.S. history and celebrate their achievements. It was derived from Black History Week, which was established in 1926.

Carter Godwin Woodson, a noted African-American scholar and historian, started the celebration in 1926 with the hopes that it would encourage Americans to discover African-American ethnic roots and further respect for one another. February was chosen because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were both born during that month.

The first African slaves arrived in Virginia in 1619. From Frederick Douglass – a prominent American abolitionist, author and orator in the 1800s – to Barack Obama – who served as the 44th President of the United States, the impact of the contributions of African-Americans has made a significant difference in the lives we live today and the communities where we live and work.

Martin Luther King Jr., during his “I Have a Dream” speech delivered August 28, 1962 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., shared “So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

All year, not just in February, let’s realize the necessity for transformations and the potential for hope in our American communities.

Learn more about Black History Milestones from the History Channel.

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