To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 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 Abraham Lincoln.
In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded to a month. Since then, U.S. presidents have proclaimed February as National African-American History Month.
- 46.3 million – The black population, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, on July 1, 2015, up about 1.3 percent from July 1, 2014.
- 74.5 million – The projected black population, either alone or in combination, of the United States (including those of more than one race) on July 1, 2060. On that date, according to the projection, the black population would constitute 17.9 percent of the nation’s total population.
- 3.8 million – The black population in New York on July 1, 2015, the largest of any state or equivalent. The District of Columbia had the highest percentage (50 percent), followed by Mississippi (38.3 percent).
- 1.3 million – The black population in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago), in 2015, the largest of any county. Claiborne County, Mississippi, was the county with the highest percentage in the nation (85.1 percent).
- 108,473 – The estimated number of black-owned employer firms in 2014.
- 2.2 million – The number of black military veterans in the United States in 2015.
- 84.7 percent – The percentage of the black population age 25 and over with a high school diploma or higher in 2015.
- 20.2 percent – The percentage of the black population age 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2015.
- 1.9 million – The number of black people age 25 and over that attained an advanced degree in 2015.
- 2.8 million – The number of black people enrolled in undergraduate college in 2015.
- 11.1 million – The number of black people who voted in the 2014 congressional election.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau