To commemorate and celebrate the contributions made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week in 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln, who championed the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which ended slavery.
In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into a month-long commemoration. Every year since, the U.S. president has proclaimed February as National African-American History Month.
The Navigators African American History
In 1970, the first African-American Navigators launched ministries in Illinois, Washington, D.C., and Alabama. Bob and Shirley Price started a ministry at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Eugene and Diane Burrell launched The Navigators ministry at Howard University, and Rich and Jane Berry pioneered the Tuskegee Institute ministry.
Also in the early ’70s, Joe Hobbs went to Asia with The Navigators, making him one of our first African-American overseas workers.
In 2001, The Navigators hosted the first African American Congress on Discipleship in Washington, D.C., with 29 attendees. Now held every two years, the Congress is a dynamic, vision-building event that offers training and fellowship, with the purpose of encouraging attendees to consider how they can be engaged in intentional evangelism and whole-life discipleship. The most recent conference was in Cleveland, Ohio, with more than 400 people in attendance.
Visit the PBS African American World site to learn about more African American history milestones.