by Elizabeth Sponaugle

Forty years ago, in February 1976, the first ever African American History Month was observed. Making this month the 40th anniversary. The entire month of February is dedicated to what Library of Congress calls, “paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.”

In the 1920’s, Carter G. Woodson, hoped to raise awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization and society, so he founded an organization: Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH).

This organization announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926. Making this year the historic 90th anniversary. The response from this event was overwhelming: Black history clubs began, some schools included it in their curriculum and many people, of all ethnicities, endorsed the ideas that African Americans made important contributions to society.

By 1976, the observance was expanded to the cover the whole month of February. By this time, the nation had come to recognize the importance of African American contributions and achievements to the American story.

In the past, Stuart High School has been known as one of the most diverse schools Fairfax County. While the school is not doing anything specific to celebrate this month, many people in the school are. Freshman Julia Clark thinks it is important the our school recognizes this month,

Because as one of the most diverse school in the county it is essential we celebrate the culture that our namesake fought to oppress. One way I celebrate it is by saying that its African American History Month over and over again, to let people know that is happening.”

Former President Gerald Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Fairfax County Public Schools said this month is an, “Opportunity to discuss the contributions of African-Americans to the development of the United States.”