February is National African American History Month

Written by Rochelle Krueger, Lecturer/Government Documents Librarian

To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on February 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. Each year, U.S. presidents proclaim February as National African American History Month.

The population figures shown here are based on various Census Bureau sources but not on 2010 Census results.[1] The Census Bureau expects to release 2010 figures for the black population and other races by April 1, 2011.

  • 2.3 million
    Number of single-race black military veterans in the United States in 2009.
  • 2.5 million
    Number of black college students in fall 2008. This was roughly double the corresponding number from 25 years earlier.
  • $137.4 billion
    Receipts for black-owned businesses in 2007, up 55.1 percent from 2002. The number of black-owned businesses totaled 1.9 million in 2007, up 60.5 percent from 2002.

The library has a rich array of resources to commemorate National African American History Month!  Visit the library’s web page at http://library.unk.edu and do an Enhanced Catalog search on black history or African Americans to find thousands of resources in a variety of formats, including books, journals, juvenile literature, government documents, DVDs, CDs, and electronic resources.

As always, please stop by the library’s reference desk if you need assistance with finding materials, or take advantage of the library’s 24/7 Ask Us reference service!

1. United States Census Bureau. (2010, December 2).  Black (African-American) history month: February 2011. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/pdf/cb11ff-01_black.pdf