To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. Every year, U.S. presidents issue annual proclamations proclaiming February as National African-American History Month. President Obama issued his proclamation on Friday February 1st, and in it said “During National African American History Month, we honor the men and women at the heart of this journey – from engineers of the Underground Railroad to educators who answered a free people’s call for a free mind, from patriots who proved that valor knows no color to demonstrators who gathered on the battlefields of justice and marched our Nation toward a brighter day.”
The Library has many biographies of renowned African Americans in its collection. Below is a selected list.