U.S. Embassy Montevideo - Archives

February is African American History Month

The National Theme for this year's celebration marks the 100th anniversary of the Niagara Movement

Posted: February 2, 2005 (Updated: February 21, 2005)

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)
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.

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.


Related item: President celebrates African American History Month (February 8, 2005)

Related item: Rice celebrates African American History Month (February 18, 2005)


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