What Is the Purpose of Black History Month? A Roundtable

Jason Parham · 02/25/15 01:05PM

In 1976, when Black History Month was officially acknowledged by the U.S. government, President Gerald Ford gave a (very brief) speech. "In celebrating Black History Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideals envisioned by our Founding Fathers.," Ford said. "But, even more than this, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." Almost 40 years since Ford's remarks, the belief that Black History Month is used as a time to "honor the too-often neglected accomplishments" of blacks that have helped better shape America is only partially true.