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African American History Month

African American Female SoldierThe celebration of African American History was first established in 1926 as a week-long celebration by American historian Carter G. Woodson, a son of former slaves and Harvard graduate. It was later expanded to African American History Month as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration. Woodson chose February for the African American History celebration because it marked the birthdays of abolitionist, former slave and editor Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.

Each year, U.S. presidents proclaim February as National African American History Month The theme for the 2012 African American History Month is "Black Women in American Culture and History." Throughout America's history, from the Battle of Lexington to the Battle for Fallujah, African American Soldiers have honorably answered the call to duty, serving with great valor and distinction in America's armed forces.The African American History celebrations commemorate the contributions made to our nation by people of African descent.

During February, the Army celebrates and pays tribute to African-American Soldiers and recognizes the important contributions they have made in past wars and are continuing to make today in the War on Terrorism. Each year the Army commemorates the contributions and sacrifices made by its African American Soldiers and civilians with activities and events at installations throughout the Army.

Snapshots in History

Rosa Parks

George Washington Carver

Joe Louis

Maggie Walker

Rosa Parks is considered one of the pioneers of the Civil Rights movements. Her refusal to move to the back of a bus led to her arrest on December 1, 1955. She was fined $10 plus $4 court cost. This touched off the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Ala.


Born a slave, George Washington Carver went on to become a scientist, botanist, educator and inventor whose studies and teaching revolutionized agriculture in the South. Carver led the Agriculture Department at Tuskegee University, teaching former slaves farming techniques for self-sufficiency.

Nicknamed the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949. He is widely regarded as the first African American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the U.S.


Maggie Walker was a teacher, businesswoman and the first African-American woman bank president to charter a bank in the U.S. She focused on making tangible improvements in the way of life for African Americans and women.


Rosa Parks

George Washington Carver

Joe Louis

Maggie Walker


Census - By the Numbers


42 million - Estimated population of black residents in the U.S. as of July 1, 2010 (including those of more than one race)

65.7 million - Projected black U.S. population for July 1, 2050 (including those of more than one race)


82% - Among blacks 25 and older, the percentage with a high school diploma or higher in 2010.

Serving in the Military

2.4 million - Number of single-race black military veterans in the U.S. in 2010. More military veterans are black than any other minority group.


16.1 million - The number of blacks who voted in the 2008 presidential election, up by about 2.1 million from the 2004 presidential election. 

55% - Turnout rate in the 2008 presidential election for the 18- to 24-year-old citizen black population, an 8 percent increase from 2004. Blacks had the highest turnout rate in this age group.

65% - Turnout rate among black citizens in the 2008 presidential election, up about 5 percentage points from 2004.


44.2% - Nationally, the percentage of households with a householder who was single-race black who lived in owner-occupied homes.


For the Kids!

Word Search Puzzle on African American History MonthYour kids will enjoy solving these Word Search puzzles, designed specifically in honor of African American History Month. What a great way to teach your kids about the importance that African-Americans had in shaping in the United States and the U.S. Army. Fun for the entire family!


>> African Americans in the Civil War Word Search (PDF)

African Americans in the Civil War Word Search Answers (PDF)

>> African American History Month Word Search (PDF)

African American Month Word Search Answers (PDF)

Yes we can.

- President Barak Obama
First black president of the 
United States


If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare composed poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 
Civil Rights Leader

I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear.

- Rosa Parks
Refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Alabama in 1955

Have a vision. Be demanding.

- Colin Powell
Retired 4-star General and former U.S. Secretary of State


The color of the skin is no way connected with strength of the mind or intellectual powers...

- Benjamin Banneker
Black inventor who created the first Farmers’ Almanac


Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

- Harriet Tubman
Escaped slave who escorted over 300 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad


Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.

- Booker T. Washington
Emancipated slave who founded the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University)

African American History Month Tri-Signed Letter

For more than two centuries, African-Americans Soldiers have honorably served in every conflict in United States history - from the American Revolution to the Civil War to present day conflicts.

To learn more about African-American Soldiers and their history with the U.S. Army, visit the Black History Month special feature on