The son of former slaves, scholar and author Carter G. Woodson created the first Negro History Week in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Fifty years later, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History designated the first Black History Month.
In honor of this year's celebration, discover all Smithsonian has to offer, including events and exhibitions at Smithsonian museums and across the country.
This year’s feature event is a family festival at the Ripley Center on February 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The day includes kalimba music, art activities, free performances, and a panel discussion on the history of the Shaw neighborhood. Self-guided tours of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture's exhibition Road to Freedom are also available. The event is free and open to the public; no reservations are required.