Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is considered a pioneer in the study of African-American history and is known as “The Father of Black History,” designated the second week of February as Negro History Week in 1926. In 1976, Negro History Week would be expanded to the entire month of February, or Black History Month.
Woodson, a son of former slaves who eventually earned a PhD from Harvard, chose the second week of February as it marked the birthday of abolitionist Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14) and President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12), who signed the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery in the southern states.
Woodson once said, "History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.”
Also on this day in 1965, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning comedian, recording artist and actor Chris Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina. His provocative comedic style would gain acclaim and even criticism for its sharp commentary on race relations, politics, family and music.