Black History Month takes place in February, and is a month-long celebration of the wide breadth of history, contributions, and achievements of African Americans. Begun nearly 100 years ago as a weeklong event, Black History Month is now a month-long celebration of Black influence around the world.

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson — an African American historian who graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D. — founded Negro History Week to highlight the history, lives, and contributions of Black Americans to American society. In 1976, Negro History Week stretched into a month-long celebration under President Gerald Ford.

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which was founded by Woodson, “Black teachers in segregated public elementary and secondary schools engaged their students in an array of festivities—plays, pageants, reciting of speeches, essay contests, concerts, and other events.”