Marking Black History Month beyond February

Black History Month is over, but we’re taking the time to look back on some of the important figures and dates throughout the month. While we mark Black history for one month, it’s important to acknowledge the massive contributions of these Black individuals and countless more every day of the year.

Illustration of a calendar showing February. It reads "Black History Month" at the top. Each day has an illustration of a different person or event on it.

This illustration by CHASI artist Sharon Strauss depicts:

  1. Jefferson Franklin Long, the first Black member to speak on the floor of the House of Representatives (1871)
  2. Alfred L. Cralle invents the ice cream scooper (1897)
  3. Birthdate of Mabel Alice Wadham: one of the most important jazz cabaret singers of the 20th Century (1900)
  4. Birthdate of Rosa Parks, activist famous for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott (1913)
  5. Birthdate of Henry Louis Aaron, a famous baseball right fielder nicknamed “Hammer” and “Hammerin’ Hank” (1934)
  6. Birthdate of Bob Marley, a Jamaican reggae star (1945)
  7. Carter G. Woodson creates Negro History Week, that would in 1976 become Black History Month (1926)
  8. Oprah’s On! becomes the first nationally syndicated talk show hosted by an African American woman, Oprah Winfrey (1986)
  9. Birthdate of Alice Walker, the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction (1944)
  10. Death of Stuart Hall, a Marxist sociologist, cultural theorist, and political activist (2014)
  11. Ruth Carol Taylor becomes the first African American airline flight attendant (1958)
  12. Birthdate of William “Bill” Felton Russell, an American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics (1934)
  13. The last public appearance of Malcolm X (1965)
  14. Birthdate of Richard Allen, founder of the first independent Black denomination in the United States: the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1760)
  15. Death of Nat King Cole, the singer with the “Golden Voice” (1965)
  16. Birthdate of Levar Burton, the actor who played Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the host of Reading Rainbow for 23 years (1957)
  17. Birthdate of Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party (1942)
  18. Birthdate of Toni Morrison, who won the 1933 Nobel prize in literature (1931)
  19. Vonetta Flowers becomes the first Black gold medalist in the Winter Olympic Games, winning the inagural women’s two-person bobsled event (2002)
  20. Birthdate of Sydney Poitier, the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Actor (1927)
  21. Birthdate of Nina Simone, a famous singer, songwriter, pianist, and activist (1933)
  22. Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff win the first rap Grammy and boycott the Grammies in protest of their treatment (1989)
  23. Birthdate of William Edward Du Bois, a renowned sociologist, socialist, historian, and Pan-Africanist civil rights activist (1868)
  24. Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first Black woman to be given an M.D. degree (1864)
  25. Birthdate of Veronica Webb, the first African American Woman to get a major cosmetics contract (1865)
  26. Cassius Clay changes his name to Muhammad Ali (1964)
  27. Birthdate of Marian Anderson, a famous American contralto (1897)
  28. Philp Emeagwali, inventor of the Connection Machine, is awarded the Gordon bell Prize (1990)
  29. Hattie McDaniel becomes the first Black Oscar winner (1940)