Black History Month started in 1926 with “Negro History Week,” set during the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. February was first celebrated as Black History Month at Kent State University in 1970; the US government first recognized the celebration in 1976. The UK observed Black History Month beginning in 1987 and Canada’s House of Commons followed suit in 1995.
This month shines a spotlight on those researching African-American ancestorsand the challenges that slavery and segregation have placed in their way. These are some of our favorite FamilyTreeMagazine.com resources to help you face those challenges and commemorate the lives of your ancestors:
- In our February 2011 Family Tree Magazine Podcast, host Lisa Louise Cooke interviews African-American genealogy experts
- How to get started finding your freed ancestors in the 1870 censusthe first step toward solving the mystery of their years in bondage
- Learn about the Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy website, which has information on 100,000 slaves brought to Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries
- Our African-American Genealogy Toolkit has more websites, books and organizations to help you research your family history
Looking for more in-depth advice on how to research your African-American ancestors? Try these:
- our Family Tree University course Finding African-American Ancestors in Newspapers: Research Strategies for Success (it’s discounted to $49.99 for the session starting Feb. 25!)