Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, first proposed the idea of “Negro History Week” in February 1926. Since then the idea has evolved into Black History Month. We take the opportunity every February to honor the history of African-American contributions to American life.
February 2010 also marks some important anniversaries in African-American history, most notably, the 145th anniversary of the signing of the 13th Amendment on February 1, 1865 and the 140th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment on February 3, 1870.
The 13th Amendment formally abolished slavery in the United States and the 15th Amendment prohibited government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on race, color, or âprevious condition of servitudeâ (slavery). These two amendments opened the door for African Americans to participate in the United States government and, in February 1870, Mississippi Senator Hiram R. Revels became the first of 22 African Americans to serve in Congress during the 1800s.
This Black History Month, Avoice salutes those who helped pass these two vital amendments and the men who blazed the trail for blacks in Congress during the 19th Century.
Read bios of the 19th Century African-American Congressmen .