Black History Month

zoomed in photo black man's and black woman's hands embracing

The month of February is a time to honor the achievements of Black Americans in U.S. history. Since its first observance at Kent State University in February 1970, Black History Month (also referred to as African American History Month) has evolved into a country-wide celebration.

Did you know:

  • Thomas L. Jennings was the first Black American to receive a patent for his discovery of a process called dry-scouring (later dry-cleaning) in 1821.
  • Along with being a powerful anti-slavery organizer, James McCune Smith was the first Black American to achieve a Medical Degree in 1837.
  • In 1988 Oprah Winfrey founded Harpo Productions, which made her the first woman in history to own and produce her own talk show. She was also the first Black American (man or woman) to own an entertainment production company.

President Gerald Ford, the first president to recognize Black History Month in 1976, urged us all to “seize the opportunity” to honor Black American accomplishments “in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

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