Today is the last day of Black History Month, which is celebrated in the U.S. throughout the month of February.
American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week to commemorate the contributions that people of African descent have made to our nation.
The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for the celebration to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and editor Frederick Douglass.
In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. Each year, U.S. presidents declare February National African-American History Month.
Here's a look at what some Plum Borough School District students did to celebrate the special month (for details and photos, read the PDF attached to this article):
- Plum High School—Thanks to student Kacy Howard, students leard about a famous black figure each day. Biographies were presented during the high school announcements.
- Adlai Stevenson Elementary—Students learned about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks and many other influential black people. They also reviewed spirituals and songs in music class, and learned about the struggle for equal rights.
- Center Elementary—Third grade students read many books about Martin Luther King Jr., fifth-graders sang spirituals in music class and sixth-graders completed research papers on black abolitionists—Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and Benjamin Banneker.
- Holiday Park Elementary—Students took part in research, community projects and lessons about famous black people—sixth-graders wrote about having lunch with a famous black person.
- Regency Park Elementary—First-graders learned about Mae Jemison, the first black woman to travel in space and the first black woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program.
- Pivik Elementary—Students studied Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream for equality and wrote about their own dreams. They also discussed his influence on the country.
Here are some more famous Black History Month trailblazers from Biography.com:
Nathaniel Alexander was the first to patent the folding chair. His invention was designed to be used in schools, churches and at large social gatherings.
Henry Blair, the second African-American to receive a patent, invented a corn seed planter in 1834 and a cotton planter in 1836. Blair could not read or write and signed his patent with an X.
Joseph Winters invented a fire escape ladder in 1878.
Sarah E. Goode invented a bed that folded up into a cabinet in 1885. Contrary to popular belief, she was not the first African-American woman to receive a patent, but the second.
George Carruthers invented the far ultraviolet electrographic camera, used in the 1972 Apollo 16 mission.