In honor of Black History Month, established in 1926 and celebrated in February, here’s a roundup of resources – websites, blogs, repositories and more – to help you learn more about your family. Each resource listed offers more links to additional information.
Today is also the birthday of African American baseball superstar Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, born in 1934. A major league baseball icon, Aaron is best known for breaking Babe Ruth's home run record. Read more on Aaron.
For many black families with roots in the Southern US states, research can be frustrating. Although African American genealogy research can get back to the 1880s and much earlier, it is difficult for most researchers. Researching their family trees has been almost impossible, as their ancestors' original names were literally erased. Slaves' African given names were replaced by English names and their surnames were those of their owners.
With the advent of new databases and technological tools, research has become much easier. A growing number of individuals are preparing their family stories and discovering images of their unique history.
The history of the African diaspora in a number of countries is celebrated during Black History Month.
In the US and Canada, it has been observed during February since 1976. In the UK, it is observed during October. It is also known as African-American History Month.
Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week so that African American history would be considered more significant within American history. According to historian John Hope Franklin, Woodson expressed hope that Negro History Week would outlive its usefulness.
The observance is meant to promote awareness of African American history. It is widely observed through local activities, at museums, at libraries and with television documentaries.