February marks the beginning of Black History Month, and at ISU students and faculty are gearing up for multiple events dedicated to educating and bringing recognition to the profound and very impactful actions of black historical figures. 

Black History Month was started in Feb. of 1926 and was originally just one week long. The week was initially meant to help school children learn more about black history but as time went on it morphed into something bigger.

The origin of celebrating black History on a national level can be traced back to Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard educated man known as “The Father of Black History.”

Woodson started an organization called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASLAH). After Woodson’s death in 1950, the organization’s current goals are to further his efforts to celebrate historic individuals surrounding black history.

Vice president for programs at ASALH Lionel Kimble gave an interview with ABC News in which he relayed how hard it is to keep people interested beyond the month of February. 

"One of the biggest issues we see, especially for those non-black folks, is that the emphasis on black history is divisive and some mistakenly label it racist,” said Kimble.

Kimble went on to describe the solution to this problem, “But, if we continue to emphasize that all Americans worked towards these common goals, then everyone can see themselves as part of the larger mission.” 

Speaking specifically on how hard it is to hold the public interest, Kimble relayed, “ It’s disappointing, but we have to really build on the study of black history and get people to understand the important roles of black folks in the larger narrative of the United States." 

“I’m black and I’m proud,” a simple quote from James Brown that holds so much weight,” ISU student Michelle Dinkins said. “Black history month is important to me because it’s a time to highlight & celebrate black culture, black historical figures, and the black community’s future. I’m black and I’m proud every month, not just in February.”