Black History Month is one of the most widely-celebrated of American, federal months. It was originally established in 1926 as Negro History Week by noted African-American author and Harvard University scholar, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Dr. Woodson’s hope was that this special observance would remind all Americans of their ethnic roots, and that the commemoration would increase mutual respect. In 1976, the celebration was expanded to include the entire month, and it became known as Black History Month, also called African American History Month. The month of February was chosen since it contains the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
In honor of Black History Month, the U.S. Embassy organized a number of outreach events, including a month-long, social media campaign, school presentations on multiculturalism and Black History Month, a roundtable discussing social change through the arts, private tour of Not a Museum’s art exhibition, a community tour of Quinta do Mocho’s public, art gallery, and a closing reception. The U.S. Embassy used Black History Month as a platform to bridge the experiences of African-Americans and Afro-Portuguese communities, celebrating both communities’ important contributions to society and raising broader awareness about our shared history, culture, and values.
Please see below for more information about the U.S. Embassy’s 2020 Black History Month celebration:
Ambassador Glass and Mrs. Glass visited the Gallery of Public Art at Quinta do Mocho, where they observed original and bold urban art. They also visited an art gallery called “Not a Museum” to visit an exhibition featuring Afro-Portuguese and African artists.
The Deputy Chief of Mission Kristin Kane received several community leaders at the Embassy for a roundtable discussion on the social change through the arts. They talked about important leaders, museums and memories related to the civil rights movement in the United States, as well as crucial challenges that remain important to building a more equitable society.
Deputy Public Affairs Officer Krystle Norman, Vice-Consul Christopher Warnke, and Social Media Coordinator Rami Shakra visited several schools where they talked about Black History Month and the importance of diversity and multiculturalism.
As the culmination of our celebration of the Black History Month, the Deputy Chief of Mission Kristin Kane hosted a closing reception at her residence where she received community leaders, diplomats, entrepreneurs and artists of African descent, to commemorate our shared history, culture, and values.