The 2020 theme is African Americans and the Vote
“The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.”
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAALH) started the celebration of Negro History Week in 1926. The week ASAALH chose was the one that contained the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Now they celebrate Black History Month. (The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also calls it Black History Month.)
About this year’s theme:
“The year 2020 marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. The year 2020 also marks the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of black men to the ballot after the Civil War. The theme speaks, therefore, to the ongoing struggle on the part of both black men and black women for the right to vote”
The CU library’s new book display is a tribute to African Americans’ struggles and a celebration of their contributions to American culture, with an emphasis on prominent individuals, including writers, artists and musicians, and newer books which have garnered awards and considerable recognition. You can see a list of the books included in the display here.
Not everyone is a fan of Black History Month. In an interview on “60 Minutes” actor Morgan Freeman said, “I don’t want a Black history month. Black history is American history.” You can learn more about this concern in this short video from the PBS Newshour.
Since 2016 you can learn more about African American history by visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAHC) in Washington DC, part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Lucky for anyone interested in learning more about African American history, the NMAHC and the library’s book collection–and the vast amount of information on the Internet–are available all 12 months of the year. See #CharlestonSyllabus and the library’s Race Matters: A Castleton Dialogue guide for links to many more resources.