Black History Month 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.
Looking for something local that celebrates black history? West Pasco Historcal Society members have set up a display in honor of Black History Month in the Rao D. Musunuru Museum, 6431 Circle Boulevard. It will be open throughout February on Fridays and Saturdays, 1-4 p.m.
According to Dan Callaghan, secretary of the African American Club of Pasco, the display features "photographs of important African Americans and historical events, a selection of books from the collection of Professor John Francis Bayliss donated recently the African American Club of Pasco (AAC), and a display box showing the currency used in the purchasing of slaves in Africa. A selection of essays by students in essay contests sponsored by the AAC are on display, as are articles and a scrapbook on the Booker T. Washington School in Pine Hill that is now the community center and meeting place of the AAC."
Callaghan will also be giving a presentation at the museum at 1 p.m. Feb. 16 on "The Long and Perilous Journey of Florida’s Black Seminoles”.
Here are some famous national 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.