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Every February, people throughout America take 28 days to learn about, remember, and celebrate the contributions of Black people to American society. During the more than four centuries that have passed since this nation took its first steps toward existence, people of African descent have been an integral part of the American story, playing key roles in the political, cultural, and scientific progress we’ve enjoyed thus far.

The Origins Of Black History Month

Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which historian Carter G. Woodson conceived in the second week of February because of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays (Feb. 12 and Feb. 14, respectively). It was expanded into a full month in 1976.

At NewsOne this month, we’ll celebrate Black achievement with profiles of historical figures, photo galleries exploring pivotal years in modern Black history, trivia quizzes, original pieces on the many facets of our history, and more. But we’ll also be doing something different: Celebrating the achievements of little-known, everyday folks who are making contributions to their community on the local and national level. They’re called GAME CHANGERS, and you can take a look at them here as we roll out all 28 over the course of February. Be sure to check back often!

A final note: Over the years, there has been much debate over whether Black History Month is necessary, and whether its existence is counterproductive to recognizing “Black” history as simply American. This month at NewsOne, even as we celebrate, we plan to explore and engage with those criticisms as well. We hope you’ll join the conversation and share your own opinions with us in the comments.