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February is Black History Month: Black Women in American Culture and History

February 3, 2012

Presidential Proclamation – January 31, 2012 – BARACK OBAMA


The story of African Americans is a story of resilience and perseverance. It traces a people who refused to accept the circumstances under which they arrived on these shores, and it chronicles the generations who fought for an America that truly reflects the ideals enshrined in our founding documents. It is the narrative of slaves who shepherded others along the path to freedom and preachers who organized against the rules of Jim Crow, of young people who sat-in at lunch counters and ordinary men and women who took extraordinary risks to change our Nation for the better. During National African American History Month, we celebrate the rich legacy of African Americans and honor the remarkable contributions they have made to perfecting our Union.

This year’s theme, “Black Women in American Culture and History,” invites us to pay special tribute to the role African American women have played in shaping the character of our Nation — often in the face of both racial and gender discrimination. As courageous visionaries who led the fight to end slavery and tenacious activists who fought to expand basic civil rights to all Americans, African American women have long served as champions of social and political change. And from the literary giants who gave voice to their communities to the artists whose harmonies and brush strokes captured hardships and aspirations, African American women have forever enriched our cultural heritage. Today, we stand on the shoulders of countless African American women who shattered glass ceilings and advanced our common goals. In recognition of their legacy, let us honor their heroic and historic acts for years to come.

President Obama’s proclamation explains the importance of Black History Month much better than I can. Below are our resources for teaching Black History in February and all year long.

The White House Blog – Black History Month: “Shaping the Story of America”

An Amazing American Woman – Maya Angelou


Share your ideas with us and let us know if you used any of these resources in your classroom.

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