EAS and NSM Celebrate Black History Month

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month

Black History Month, designated as February of every year, celebrates the contributions of African Americans, past and present, from the enslaved people brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to present day African Americans. It is a time of reflection on the important contributions of African Americans to the United States and its history.

How Did It Begin?

In 1915, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History was founded to promote, research, interpret, and disseminate information about Black life, history, and culture to the global community. In 1926, the Association declared the second week of February as Black History Week to provide information on the accomplishments of Black people to the public as few people studied Black history and it was not included in textbooks. The second week of February was chosen because it included the birthdays of Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist, and former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, both of whom made significant contributions to the well-being of Blacks in the U.S.

In 1976, U.S. President Gerald Ford extended the week-long celebration to a full month to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Black History month continues to be celebrated annually in the month of February.

This year, the national Black History Month theme is Black Resistance. To learn more about previous themes, visit this page.

Did You Know?

  • Dr. Donna Stokes, UH Professor of Physics, is the 53rd African American female to earn a Ph.D. in Physics in the nation.
  • Bernard Harris Jr., M.D., earned his B.S. in Biology from UH in 1978, and is the first African American to walk in space.
  • History between UH and TSU from Houston History Magazine
  • Black History Month showcases University history, student experiences from The Daily Cougar (2020)
  • In 2020, the population of the United States was 331 million, of which 12.4% were Black or African American (source: United States Census Bureau).
  • Texas, as a state, has the largest Black population, with over 3.5 million in 2020 (source: United States Census Bureau).
  • Blacks or African Americans make up 9% of the STEM workforce.
  • Blacks or African Americans earned 7% of all STEM degrees as of 2018, the most recent year data are available. 25% of African American graduates with STEM degrees come from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Suggested Ways to Improve Engagement of Blacks in STEM:
    • Create an inclusive culture.
    • Provide opportunities for young students to gain more hands-on experience in STEM.
    • Provide ongoing support for students of color through college and career role models and mentoring.

Learn More

UH Celebrates Black History Month

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TEDx Talks