Each year, FERC joins the Nation in commemorating Black History Month.   

Black History Month is a time to celebrate achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today. 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. 

This year, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), announced the 2023 Black History Month Observance Theme: “Black Resistance.” The theme acknowledges the ways in which Black people have sought to nurture and protect Black lives, and for autonomy of their physical and intellectual bodies through armed resistance, voluntary emigration, nonviolence, education, literature, sports, media, and legislation/politics. 

African American Facts: Did You Know?

  • Black History began as "Negro History Week" in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American schol- ar, historian, educator, and publisher.
  • Famous Protestors and Activists: While Rosa Parks is credited with helping to spark the civil rights move- ment when she refused to give up her public bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955— inspiring the Montgomery Bus Boycott—the lesser-known Claudette Colvin was arrested nine months prior for not giving up her bus seat to white passengers.
  • First African American to go to Space: In 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to go to space, boarding the space shuttle Endeavour.
  • First African American Billionaire: The first African American billionaire was Robert Johnson. He became a billionaire when he sold his founded cable station, Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 2001.
  • First African American Female Billionaire: The first African American female black billionaire was Orpah Gail Winfrey and she was the only black billionaire from 2004 to 2006.
  • First African American President: In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American President of tthe United States.
  • First African American Vice President: In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first woman of African or Asian descent to become Vice President of the United States.

"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 January 30, 2023