Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture

Black History Month

The roots of Black History Month go back to 1926 when noted historian, Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), the son of former slaves, launched the first observance of Negro History Week in February of that year. Dr. Woodson dedicated his life to documenting and preserving Black history and culture and is often called the “father of black history.” In 1915, he created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (, and founded the Journal of Negro History soon after. What began as Negro History Week in 1926 was first celebrated as Black History Month in 1970 at the urging of students at Kent State University.  

In recognition of 2021's Black History Month theme, The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity, we offer a few resources for your intellectual journeys. A calendar and syllabus will be released by January 2021. Know that at the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture we are living Black history every day and seeking to discover our roots exploring the many different routes of the African diaspora.  

In the meantime, see an example of 2020's calendar below.

Black History Month at Duke University 2020

View printable PDF of the full calendar here.