I am the curious type. I never looked into the history of Black History Month :). I knew it came about in my lifetime but here are the details. It grew out of something called “Negro History Week”. I had never heard of that before. Likely because it was before my time or when I was too young to know about it.
The movement grew through the 1960s, mainly on college campuses. The first time it was recognized on a national level was in 1976. President Gerald Ford (Republican) said we should “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
As a child of the 1960s, I admit I knew very little about the history of blacks in America. At the time, we all learned about Frederick Douglas, George Washington Carver, and of course, the horrors of the Civil War & slavery. Since then, I’ve learned a lot more, both good and bad. I’m not sure how much of that had to do with the recognition of Black History Month.
There are two black veterans that immediately come to mind that have inspired me. They are Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. Oddly enough, both these men are and were economists. Sadly, we lost Walter Williams in December of 2020. Since it is a snowy day in the northeast maybe some of you will have the time to watch a couple of videos about these men. Both of them walked the walk and lived their lives on both sides of the political spectrum at one point.
Side Note: 13.5 percent of Americans fall into the black racial category. Blacks serving in the military is around 16%. More interesting statistics can be found at this PDF link.