The History of Black History Month and How Our Ancestors Came About

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Black History Month

Black History Month began as Negro History Week, which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, an African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Mary Seacole

Mary Seacole was a pioneering nurse and heroine of the Crimean War. She was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1805 to a Scottish soldier and a Jamaican nurse. She learned her nursing skills from her mother who kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers. Mary was a frequent traveller across the Caribbean, Central American and Britain. On these trips she complemented her knowledge of traditional medicine with European medical ideas. She funded her own trip to the Crimea where she established the British Hotel for sick soldiers. She was known to visit battlefields during war to nurse the wounded and became known as ‘Mother Seacole’. Mary Seacole died on 14 May 1881.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in Mveso, Transkei, South Africa. Becoming actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his 20s, Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful, nonviolent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies. In 1993, Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to dismantle the country's apartheid system. In 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president. In 2009, Mandela’s Birthday (July 18) was declared "Mandela Day" to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader's legacy. Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013, at age 95.

Maya Angelou

Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, writer and civil…...

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