Propeller celebrates the vision behind Black History Month

At Propeller we have a soft spot for visionaries; a deep respect for leaders who step out and create entire movements capable of advancing the human experience.

Here’s why: we recognize that every successful movement was likely earned the hard way. Determination, setbacks, hope, perseverance, and unwavering devotion to outcomes. We also know that the inception point is always an individual who can see what others cannot. They have a fire in their belly that’s driven by the belief that people are good, and progress is good.

In this spirit, we want to share a short story about a visionary’s work that is more important than ever. 

1915 – the origins of Black History Month

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

In September of that year, Harvard-trained historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. They shared a common vision that would create a powerful, momentum-building movement set on elevating the telling of the Black experience and advocating for the advancement of black people everywhere.  

Through the work of the ASNLH, Woodson’s brainchild for what was originally sponsored in 1926 as Negro History Week then African American History Month—is today celebrated as Black History Month.

Momentum across nearly 100 years

In the decades that followed its founding, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Today, Black History Month is a time to honor the contributions and legacy of African Americans across U.S. history and society—from activists and civil rights pioneers such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks—to leaders in industry, politics, science, culture, and more.

Black History Month 2022 Theme

The ASNLH chose the 2022 Black History Month theme, “Black Health and Wellness.” It explores "the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other health specialists throughout the African Diaspora, including birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc."

To learn more

For more information about this year’s 2022 theme and all efforts in motion, visit the ASNLH page here.

And, for a comprehensive selection of History Channel documentaries and programs celebrating Black History, visit their online history vault here.

Propeller Consulting is humbled to partner with and offer pro bono services to exceptional, visionary-driven nonprofits that serve Black communities. These include The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (this non-profit organizes with Black, Brown, and low-income people to shift resources away from prisons and punishment, and towards opportunities that make our communities safe, healthy, and strong); the Cleo Parker Robison Dance Academy (a 50-year-old Denver dance institution that teaches generations of families the beauty, fun, and healing power of dance), the Kairos PDX (focused on dismantling structural racism through community school and family enrichment programs); and the Urban Consulate (an organization that brings people together to share ideas for building more just and equitable communities).

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