February is African-American History Month and has been recognized as such since 1926. Established by Dr. Carter G. Woodson whose parents had been former slaves, African-American History Month was originally called “Negro History Month,” and then later referred to as “Black History Month.” In 1915 Dr. Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History which later was changed to the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. Dr. Woodson founded the Journal of Negro History a year later. The second week of February was chosen to be the week of tribute for “Negro History Month,” in honor of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Since that time other dates in February came to light as being important to African-American History. It was decided that the entire month of February should be dedicated to the recognition and education of the history of African-American History.
In the study of African-American History, people tend to concentrate on the “Civil Rights Movement” and those involved which enabled African-Americans to become equal in their rights as American citizens. Though this is extremely important and still a battle in some places and mentalities to this day, there is an abundance of talented African-Americans that tend to be overlooked during this month of celebration and tribute.
In honor of African-American History Month it is important to study the literature that has been created from the hearts and minds of some of America’s most influential African-American authors. Though a great deal has been lost or not recorded, America has retrieved and inspired a great many African-American authors.
There are too many African-American authors to discuss all of them in one month. However, within the next few articles an attempt will be made to touch briefly on some of the authors that are maybe not so well known. Hopefully in doing so, it will intrigue readers into reading the works of these authors and learning more about them. You don’t have to be African-American to appreciate this fine literature. Literature is the window to the mind and looking into the minds of these literary intellects gives an insight into their life, their history, and their culture. In America, we are all from different cultures, but we have a common bond and that is we strive to be free. Not just free of tyranny but free to express ourselves in our art, music, and our literature. In this we come around full circle, in this we are the same.