Black History Month 2024

Each year, FERC observes Black History Month to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans throughout history. Originating in the United States, it honors key figures of the U.S. civil rights movement like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X, along with international figures like Olaudah Equiano, Ignatius Sancho, Mary Seacole, Viola Desmond, and many others. In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a noted scholar and historian, launched the celebration of “Negro History Week.” The week-long event officially became Black History Month in 1976 when U.S. president Gerald Ford extended the recognition to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Black History Month has been celebrated in the United States every February since. Black History Month fosters awareness of key Black figures in history and African American culture, while advocating for a more equal, just, and inclusive future.

This year, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), announced the 2024 Black History Month Observance Theme: “African Americans and the Arts.” African American art is infused with African, Caribbean, and the Black American lived experiences. This theme acknowledges African American artists that’ve used art to preserve history and community memory as well as for empowerment.

"Lift Every Voice and Sing"

The Black National Anthem

Lift ev'ry voice and sing, 'til earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of liberty; let our rejoicing rise

High as the list'ning skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on 'til victory is won. Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,

'Til now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast. God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; thou who has by thy might

Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our god, where we met thee, lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee; shadowed beneath thy hand,

May we forever stand, true to our god,

True to our native land.

By James Weldon Johnson, NAACP Leader

Written as poem and put to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. First performance by 500 school children in their hometown of Jacksonville, FL to Celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

This page was last updated on February 12, 2024