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Negro Achievement Week Essay

The year was 1915, Carter G. Woodson had recently traveled from Washington D.C to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation. This gave him and thousands of other African Americans the ability to appreciate displays highlighting the progress African Americans had made since the abolishment of slavery. This occasion inspired Woodson and four others to form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now Association for the Study of African American Life and History or ASALH). This organization’s purpose was to recognize and promote the accomplishments and history of African Americans that often went unnoticed. In 1916, Woodson created The Journal of Negro History in hopes that it would familiarize people with the findings and achievements of African Americans. But Woodson wanted more; he wanted all people to celebrate and be aware of the great things African Americans had and were accomplishing. He wanted both whites and blacks to have strong, positive affiliations. Woodson decided the best way to accomplish these things was to create Negro Achievement Week.

Negro Achievement week was placed in February in order to commemorate the birthdays of two men who helped pave the way for African Americans: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. Both of these men’s birthdays were already being celebrated in black communities, thus increasing the possibility of success for Negro Achievement Week. But Woodson didn’t want this celebration to just be about these two men; however great, neither one of them single-handedly abolished slavery. Rather, Woodson wanted Negro Achievement to celebrate and appreciate the great accomplishments and history of the whole entire African race. Woodson’s Negro Achievement Week received a lo...

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...ca in African American college students helped lead to the formation of Black History Month. The increase of younger activists allowed the ASALH to cultivate into a more modern association. Fifty years after the first celebration, the ASALH was able to develop the week long celebration of Negro Achievement Week into Black History Month. Every president since 1976 has made some sort of endorsement of Black History Month.

No one can quite say how Woodson would feel about about the way black history is commemorated today. One thing we do know is that America has come along way since the ASALH was first created in 1915. People appreciate and recognize the history and achievement of African Americans significantly more than they did one hundred years ago. It can be assumed that that would make Woodson proud of just how far Negro Achievement Week and the ASALH have come.

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