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Black History Month

Black History Month: The Undefeated edition

From stories to real facts to videos, we will keep up with our history

February marks the beginning of Black History Month. The celebration falls right in line with the work The Undefeated has been curating since its launch in May 2016. For the next 28 days (and beyond) we will continue to provide daily inspiration, stories and videos to our readers.

Join us in reading and sharing an array of content that will allow all Americans to reflect on the significant roles black Americans have played in the shaping of history. Our hope is that everyone can continue to become cognizant about the vast and complex history that is crucial to the building of black experience and identity in America and beyond.

We’re kicking off the month with some “on this day” black facts and a piece by Newbery Medal-winning poet Kwame Alexander, Take a Knee, which brings Black History Month into today’s context.

What started as Negro History Week transformed into a full month of celebration thanks to trendsetters and history makers Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland. The pair founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) to research and report on the accomplishments of African descendants and African-American people.

Nine years later in 1926, in an effort to further promote and broadcast the achievements nationally, the ASNLH created a Negro History Week, which was originally held the second week of February. It was expanded into Black History Month, and became official when President Gerald R. Ford recognized it in 1976. More than 40 years later, it is celebrated nationwide and can be addressed on much larger platforms and in more innovative ways.

At The Undefeated, it’s a 365-day effort to report new history, write or resurface stories about our past and remain in the continuous conversation about just how much and how African-Americans shape all history.

Below are just a few facts on people celebrated on Feb. 1.

“On this day in history”:

1865 – Ratification of the 13th Amendment

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, was adopted by the 38th Congress. Ratification was completed Dec. 6, 1865.

1865 – First African-American before the U.S. Supreme Court

John Sweat Rock (1825-1866), a noted Boston lawyer, became in 1865 the first African-American to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the first black person to speak before the U.S. House of Representatives.

1871 – 1st black speaks to U.S. House of Representatives

Jefferson Long of Georgia became the first black person to make an official speech in the House of Representatives. He opposed leniency to former Confederates.

1960 – Sit-in movement in Greensboro, North Carolina

Four students from North Carolina A&T College started a sit-in movement in Greensboro, North Carolina. By Feb. 10, the movement had spread to 15 Southern cities in five states.

1965 – Demonstration ends in 700 arrests

More than 700 demonstrators, including Martin Luther King Jr., arrested in Selma, Alabama.

1978 – The first Black Heritage USA Series stamp was born

The first stamp of the U.S. Postal Service’s Black Heritage USA series honors Harriet Tubman, famed abolitionist and “conductor” on the Underground Railroad.

1990 – Ida B. Wells postage stamp issued

Ida B. Wells, a black reformer who compiled records on lynching, is the subject of a U.S. Postal Service stamp.

1997 – First 24-hour black movie channel, BET/Starz, was launched

BET Holdings and Encore Media Corp. launched BET/Starz, the first 24-hour black movie channel.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.