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Black History Month

February is the month in which millions of Americans celebrate African American history. Many important events in African American history took place in February. For example, Rosa Parks was born during this month.

Rosa Parks Helped Change Unfair Laws

In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested because she would not give up her bus seat to a white person. In Montgomery at that time, the law said that African Americans could sit in the front only if white people were not sitting there. If the front was full and a white person got on, African Americans had to move to the back.

After Parks was arrested, African American leaders asked African Americans not to use the city's buses. For more than a year, they and their white supporters stayed off the buses. The city lost a lot of money. Finally, the unfair law was changed. By not obeying an unfair law, Parks helped all the people of the city. Her courage helped people around the country change other unfair laws.

The Celebration Begins and Grows

In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson declared the second week in February a time to celebrate African American history. Woodson chose that time because the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass fall in that week. Those two men made a difference in the history of African Americans. Lincoln was President of the United States during the war that ended slavery. Douglass was a former enslaved person who worked to outlaw slavery.

In 1976, the celebration grew to the whole month of February. Today during Black History Month, people still learn about the important people and events in African American history.