As February took its toll and ended, students look back through the month and discover new and old ideas. One many seem to have forgotten is the importance of February; it is a month chosen for the celebration and recognition of Black Americans and is well known as Black History Month.
According to Inventors.about.com, “What we now call Black History Month originated in 1926, founded by Carter
G. Woodson as Negro History Week. The month of February was selected in deference to Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln who were both born in that month.”
The importance of Frederick Douglass being born in February is that he was one of America’s top anti-slavery activist. He was born a slave, but later gained his freedom at the age of 20, escaping from his past.
He fought against the commonly know Jim Crow laws and the acts of lynching.
According to history.com, “For 16 years, Douglass edited an influential black newspaper and achieved interna- tional fame as an orator and writer of great persuasive power. In thousands of speeches and editorials he levied an irresistible indictment against slavery and racism.”
Douglass also worked alongside former president Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
Lincoln, who was head of the Union army during the war against the Con- federation (or the South), was a man of integrity and wisdom. Lincoln saw the inside of all people and forewarned those who judged others.
According to ourdocuments.gov, “In 1863, President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring ‘all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.’”
However, the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation completely. Lincoln saw that this document would have to be accepted by a constitutional amendment in order to guarantee the abolishment of slavery.
“The 13th amendment, which formal- ly abolished slavery in the United States, passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, and the House on January 31, 1865. On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln approved the Joint Resolution of Congress submitting the proposed amendment to the state legislatures,” ourdocuments.gov said. “The necessary number of states ratified it by December 6, 1865. The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution provides that ‘Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.’”