Chapter News

Celebrating Black History Month

Provided by Ronnette Phillips, Director of Sales, Association Group Sales, Hilton Worldwide Sales – on behalf of the GMC Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Committee.

February is not simply a month to celebrate love; it is also a month to commemorate the African-American community’s history and recognition. It began with an idea Dr. Carter G. Woodson had in 1915 while attending the Chicago three-week festival, a 50th anniversary of the 13th amendment President Abraham Lincoln penned with his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, the abolishment of slavery in the Confederate States. The festival honored African-American culture and was the impetus for Dr. Woodson to form the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) in Washington D.C.. The ASALH promoted the study of the accomplishments of people of color.

In 1926, the ASALH declared the second week of February as ‘Negro History Week’.  The second week was specifically chosen to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and Frederick Douglas (Feb. 14).  One of ASALH’s core goals was to increase knowledge of accomplishments from notable black figures which was either ignored or minimized in many textbooks of the time.  ASALH provided schools with a curriculum for teaching kids about black history. Over the next three decades, many cities has organized community concerts, talks, and parades throughout these two weeks.

The actual name evolved several times: from ‘Negro Heritage Week’ to ‘Negro History Month’ and then finally to ‘Black History Month’. In 1975, President Gerald Ford issued a message on the observance of ‘Black History Week’ official, asking U.S. citizens to “seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”  In 1976, ASALH expanded the week to a month.  In 1986, Congress enacted legislation designating February as “National Black (Afro-American) History Month” and further directing the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of United States to observe February as Black History Month with the appropriate ceremonies and activities.

What is to be remembered…..Black History Month is not only stories of racism and enslavement. It is so much more.  It is an opportunity to understand black culture and to honor the various successes of it’s people.

We, the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Committee, encourage you to learn more about the black community this month and throughout the year. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.


Jacky ListonCelebrating Black History Month