African Americans or Black Americans are American citizens who have their origins in Africa. In the U.S., the term is generally used for Americans with at least partial Sub-Saharan African origin.
Historian Carter G. Woodson started Black History Month in 1926. Woodson chose the second week of February to celebrate black history as it marked the birthdays of two Americans who completely influenced the existence and social condition of African Americans: former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
At the time Woodson started Black History Month, depiction and acknowledgement of African-Americans' contributions to U.S. history was not mainstream; suggestions to African-Americans as a rule only included slaves and their children. The mentioning of George Washington Carver, a scientist, botanist, educator and inventor whose research and teaching revolutionized agriculture, was a common exception. Also, W.E.B. DuBois' 1935 work "Black Reconstruction" was an early work in history that pointed to African American contributions.
During its initiation, when Black History Month was identified as "Negro History Week", it was a week dedicated to celebrating the birthdays of two very important people in the history of the United States - Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Frederick Douglass was a former slave turned abolitionist and Abraham Lincoln was the president who ensured slave liberty.
Today, Black History Month is a controversial observance. Many disapprove of the fairness of a specified month devoted to the history of one race. Magazines like Time, Newsweek, USA Today and BusinessWeek have published articles on this controversy.
Notable modern-day African Americans celebrated are Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, Ronald McNair, Oprah Winfrey, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Kanye West and many more. Read more about these modern-day African-Americans in magazines like Time, Vibe, Essence, Billboard, The Economist, Entertainment Weekly and O the Oprah magazine.
However, some people also consider it to be an "awakening" and "awareness" cause, which has an important place in society. Such people believe that as long as there is a vein of racial bigotry, there will always be a need for the Black History Month.