Black History Month is the successor to Negro History Week which was initiated on February 12, 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a pre-eminent historian and founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson was concerned that the contributions of Black Americans were overlooked or misrepresented and he began lobbying for Negro History Week as early as 1915. He selected February because it included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14) whom he believed had dramatically impacted the lives of Black Americans.
In 1976, Woodson's legacy, now renamed the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, successfully lobbied to extend Black History Week into a month-long observance.
Each year, a new theme is chosen for Black History Month. The 1998 theme was African Americans and business: The Path toward empowerment.
The Kansas City Star's African American History site provides links to Black History Month and a special link to a site profiling the contributions of African Americans to medicine.
Writing Black USA provides numerous links to important works by Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Malcolm X, and many others.
The Watson Library at the University of Kansas Lawrence campus holds over 150 items under the subject heading "Afro-Americans-history." Following is a very brief selection of the items. Affiliates of the University of Kansas Medical Center may order these through Interlibrary Services.
Asante, M. K. (1991). The historical and cultural atlas of African Americans. New York: Macmillan.
Bennett, L. (1993). Before the Mayflower: a history of black America. New York: Penguin Books.
Conniff, M. L. (1994). Africans in the Americas: a history of the Black diaspora. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Mullane. D. (1993). Crossing the danger water: three hundred years of African- American writing. New York: Anchor Books.
Du Bois, W. E. B. (1931). The souls of black folk: essays and sketches. Chicago: A. C. McClurg.
Franklin, J. H. (1994). From slavery to freedom: a history of African Americans. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hughes, L. (1995). A Pictorial history of African Americans. New York: Crown Publishers.