The origin of Black History Month goes as far back as 1915.
Historian Carter G. Woodson joined forces with A. L. Jackson and three others to create a week of promoting and celebrating black history. February was chosen to commemorate the birthdays of two figures important to black history: President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The first weeklong celebration occurred in 1926. Over the years, the weeklong celebration expanded to a month.
Since 1976, every U.S. president has declared the entire month of February to be Black History Month, an opportunity to commemorate the struggles and achievements of the African-American community.
Atlanta has a strong, rich history throughout the civil rights era, and to help you celebrate, WABE has compiled a list of events, tours and sites to visit during Black History Month.
- Black History Month Parade in Historic Downtown Atlanta – The parade features a celebration of African-American culture and history. It begins at King Center National Park and concludes with a post-parade ceremony in Woodruff Park. The parade is at noon Feb. 27.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast – Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and RKL Education Foundation are hosting their sixth annual Unity Breakfast honoring King’s legacy at 9 a.m. Feb. 27. Organizations and individuals will be recognized for promoting diversity and cooperation.
- Atlanta African Dance and Drum Community Black History Month Showcase – The Tri-Cities Performing Arts High School is hosting the African Dance Community of Atlanta’s event that will include several dance and cultural organizations at 6 p.m. Feb. 27.
- Kick Off Black History Month – The Dogwood Branch Library in Atlanta is starting Black History Month with a free, educational event geared toward elementary and preschool audiences. The event takes place at 10 a.m. Feb. 3.
- Little Known Black History Facts – The Central Library in Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta, is hosting an educational event for middle and high school students at 5 p.m. Feb. 11.
- Roswell Roots: Festival of Black History and Culture – Roswell’s Roots is a monthlong event showcasing African-American history and culture with a variety of events. The festival includes several paid and free art exhibits as well as film screenings, concerts and storytelling events.
- African-American History Tours at the Oakland Cemetery – The Oakland Cemetery is hosting hourlong African-American History tours through the cemetery. Tours include stopping points at the resting places of Maynard Jackson, Carrie Steele Logan and more. Tours are free to the public although space is limited and take place Feb. 6, 11 and 23.
- Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site – While hours are not restricted to Black History Month, February is a great time to visit King’s resting place and birth home as well as attractions such as the Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
- The Children’s Museum of Atlanta – The museum in Centennial Olympic Park is holding mini-musicals throughout February in honor of Black History Month. These twice-daily musicals titled “Georgia’s History Alive…Read on!” feature live storytelling and music.
- “Struggles and Strides” – The Atlanta History Center is hosting this family event that includes performances, activities and guest speakers who discuss African-American history. The event takes place at 11 a.m. Feb. 6.