89.1 WEMU

Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month

Black history and culture is major a part of the American fabric -- and the school curriculum -- that it's difficult to imagine a time when that wasn't so. Established as Negro History Week in the 1920s by Carter G. Woodson, February was chosen for the celebration because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born in this month. Black History month was extended to a month-long celebration in 1976. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. During the month of February, 89.1 WEMU will feature programs and activities to commemorate, celebrate, and take opportunity to emphasize the history and achievements of African Americans. Celebrating Black History Month

Black history and culture is major a part of the American fabric -- and the school curriculum -- that it's difficult to imagine a time when that wasn't so. Established as Negro History Week in the 1920s by Carter G. Woodson, February was chosen for the celebration because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born in this month. Black History month was extended to a month-long celebration in 1976. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. During the month of February, 89.1 WEMU will feature programs and activities to commemorate, celebrate, and take opportunity to emphasize the history and achievements of African Americans.

2015 Black History Program Schedule (link)

Black History Supplemental educational activities and resources:

 

Black History Facts

  • Black History Month began as "Negro History Week," which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln
  • On February 12, 2009, the NAACP marked its 100th anniversary. Spurred by growing racial violence in the early twentieth century, and particularly by race riots in Springfield Illinois in 1908, a group of African American leaders joined together to form a new permanent civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). February 12, 1909 was chosen because it was the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. 
  • Jack Johnson became the first African-American man to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title in 1908. He held on to the belt until 1915. 
  • John Mercer Langston was the first black man to become a lawyer in Ohio when he passed the Bar in 1854. When he was elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio in 1855 Langston became one of the first African Americans ever elected to public office in America. John Mercer Langston was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, famed poet of the Harlem Renaissance. 
  • Thurgood Marshall was the first African American ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court. He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and served on the Supreme Court from 1967 to 1991. 
  • George Washington Carver developed 300 derivative products from peanuts among them cheese, milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils and cosmetics. 
  • Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American ever elected to the United States Senate. He represented the state of Mississippi from February 1870 to March 1871. 
  • Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives. She was elected in 1968 and represented the state of New York. She broke ground again four years later in 1972 when she was the first major party African-American candidate and the first female candidate for president of the United States. 
  • The black population of the United States in 1870 was 4.8 million; in 2007, the number of black residents of the United States, including those of more than one race, was 40.7 million. 
  • In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American performer to win an Academy Award (the film industry`s highest honor) for her portrayal of a loyal slave governess in Gone With the Wind. 
  • In 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to go into space aboard the space shuttle Endeavor. During her 8-day mission she worked with U.S. and Japanese researchers, and was a co-investigator on a bone cell experiment.
     

 

Bentley Historical Library

Black History Month comes to an end today. As such, we bring you a story about an early 20th century interracial club at the University of Michigan.  89.1 WEMU’s Jorge Avellan tells us why it was founded and about some of the obstacles its members faced.


Lisa Barry

Five year-old Ziare Gunn, a student at the Ford Early Learning Center in Ypsilanti, is gaining a lot of recognition for memorizing and reciting a special poem for Black History Month.  He joined 89.1 WEMU'S Lisa Barry in studio along with his grandmother and teacher and shares the poem with WEMU listeners, saying it "makes his heart feel good."


Jorge Avellan / WEMU

As part of our Black History Month coverage, we’re taking a closer look at a project in Ypsilanti, that once completed, will highlight African-American history in that area.


Lisa Barry

This week, Art and Soul is about the vibrant visual arts scene in Washtenaw County.

89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry and Omari Rush, the Executive Director of CultureSource and Chairman of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, are joined by several guests focusing on the arts and local Black History Month celebrations.


Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

February has been recognized as "Black History Month" for over 40 years.  How much have things changed over that span of time?  The Riverside Art Center explores what this month means through poetry and specially created art.


Laura Bien

The Ypsilanti District Library has launched a new African-American Oral History Archive.  The audio is being taken from old cassette tapes.
 


Washtenaw County

To wrap-up our Black History Month coverage, we spoke with Eastern Michigan University professor of Africology and African-American Studies, Ronald Woods.

Hosted by Noah Adams, this program chronicles the idealistic artists, uncompromising personalities, and powerful music of the era, and looks at how these forces combined to turn abolitionism from a scorned fringe movement into a nation-changing force. Listen live on WEMU Friday, February 22 at 9am for special Black History Month coverage on WEMU.

“Any good crusade requires singing,” reformers like to say, and in the 19th Century, no cause was more righteous than in the decades-long crusade to abolish slavery."

Heavenly Sight

Feb 11, 2013

A surprising number of blind African American singers came from the gospel tradition to influence not just sacred music, but blues, bluegrass, and popular music up to and beyond rock and roll.  Host David Marash brings us the stories, music, and insight from the blind gospel tradition that transformed American song and gave it soul. Friday, February 15 at 9am on WEMU.  This program features the Blind Boys of Alabama, Arizona Dranes, Blind Willie Johnson, Ray Charles,  and the Reverend Gary Davis.

Join host Maya Angelou on 89.1 WEMU Friday, February 8, at 9am. Angelou poetically and historically covers milestones by African Americans in Nobel Peace Prize, Grammy, Academy Awards, and cultural awards.