Black History Month is dedicated to celebrating the achievements and reflecting on the experiences of African Americans. What began as a week in 1926 has blossomed into 28 days of remembrance and lessons on the contributions of Black Americans.
Many Black Americans come from a lineage of captured and enslaved people who were forcibly brought to the U.S. to build the culture and infrastructure of a place in which they never asked to live. Forced immigration and centuries of cultural genocide have driven Black Americans to literally and figuratively rebuild a culture from the ground up. In the face of historical oppression and inequality—slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the police violence that ignited the #BlackLivesMatter movement—African Americans have continuously fought for their rights, reaching countless milestones, achievements, and freedoms in doing so. While being forced to exist largely on the fringes of society, Black Americans nevertheless have made many significant contributions to the arts, education, politics, technology, and numerous other fields.
The 1930s saw history from Olympic track and field star Jesse Owens and the eventual breakout moment of author-activist Zora Neale Hurston; in the ’50s, the first Civil Rights Act since 1875 was signed into law; and five decades later, in 2008, Americans elected the first Black president.
But in the theme of education—part of the function of this month for much of the country—you’ll learn of other, less-discussed moments and perhaps some unfamiliar faces in Black history: the desegregation of the armed forces in the ’40s, the first Black Miss America in the ’80s, and the 1995 Million Man March in Washington D.C., are a few remarkable moments.
Peruse Stacker’s list to learn more about some of the significant achievements and moments in Black history, from 1919 to 2021.
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