Black History Month is dedicated to celebrating the achievements and reflecting on the experiences of African Americans. What started as a week in 1926 turned into 28 days of remembrance and lessons on the contributions of black Americans.
Many black Americans come from a line of captured and enslaved people who were forcibly brought to the United States to build the culture and infrastructure of a place they never asked to live. Forced immigration and centuries of cultural genocide have prompted black Americans to rebuild a culture both literally and figuratively. In the face of historical oppression and inequality – slavery, Jim Crow laws and the police violence that sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement – African Americans have continuously fought for their rights, reaching countless milestones, achievements and freedoms. While being forced to exist largely on the fringes of society, black Americans have nonetheless made many significant contributions to the arts, education, politics, technology, and many other fields.
The 1930s saw the story of Olympic athletics star Jesse Owens and the defining moment of author-activist Zora Neale Hurston; in the 1950s, the first Civil Rights Act since 1875 was enacted; and five decades later, in 2008, Americans elected the first black president.
But in the education theme, which is part of this month’s feature for much of the country, you will discover other less discussed moments and perhaps unknown faces in black history: the desegregation of the Armed Forces in the 1940s, the first Black Miss America in the 1980s, and the Million Man March 1995 in Washington DC, are some noteworthy moments.
Browse 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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