National African American History
Month, an annual celebration that has existed since 1926,
is observed to honor the heritage and accomplishments of
African Americans and to recognize their extraordinary contributions
to the United States.
Actor James Earl Jones reads to
students at the Sojourner Truth Elementary School in
New York's Harlem neighborhood on Jan. 20, 2005. In
recognition of African American History Month and the
50th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Jones
read "If A Bus Could Talk, the Story of Rosa Parks"
by Faith Ringgold. (AP/WWP Richard Drew)
Originally established as Negro History
Week in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a noted African-American
author and scholar, this event evolved into the establishment
in 1976 of February as "Black History Month."
This commemoration has increasingly been referred to as
"African-American History Month," although both
names are currently in use.
Since 1926, The Association for the Study
of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) has established
the national theme for the month-long celebration of African
American History Month. The National Theme for the celebration
of Black History Month in the year 2005 marks the 100th
anniversary of the Niagara Movement.
The Niagara movement was an organization
founded by African Americans to fight racial discrimination
in the United States. It existed from 1905 to 1910. At its
height, the Niagara Movement had 30 branches in various
U.S. cities. It failed to win the support of most blacks,
but many of its ideas were adopted in 1909 by a new interracial
organization--the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP).
The Niagara Movement was founded in Niagara
Falls, Canada. W.E.B. Du Bois, a black professor at Atlanta
University, led the organization. The movement placed the
responsibility for racial problems in the United States
on whites. The movement thus opposed the view of the famous
black educator Booker T. Washington, who urged blacks to
stop demanding equal rights. Various branches of the movement
demanded voting rights for African Americans, opposed school
segregation, and worked to elect candidates who promised
to fight race prejudice.
As part of the celebrations, the U.S. Embassy
in Montevideo is sponsoring an exhibit called "Portraits
of a New Generation - the Legacy of Martin Luther King",
which will be showing during the month of February at the
Mundo Afro cultural center.
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