Black History Month

Every February during Black History Month and throughout the year, the National Park Service and our partners share stories, rich culture, and an invitation for all Americans to reflect on Black history in parks and communities across the country. More than 400 years of Black history and heritage—including achievements, contributions, and historical journeys—are remembered and commemorated in places preserved for current and future generations.

Inspired by something you've learned or have a memorable national park experience to share? Join the conversation on social media using #BlackHistoryMonth and #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.
Collage of Harriet Tubman photos and illustration

Sharing History & Heritage

Discover Black history and cultural heritage shared in national parks and communities across the country.

19th-century military reenactor next to a sign for Reconstruction Era National Monument

Featured Places

The history and heritage of Black Americans are preserved and shared in many parks across the country. Explore some featured places.

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Educators Portal

Find distance learning opportunities, lesson plans, and other educational material about history and heritage for all age groups.

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Duration:
4 minutes, 25 seconds

Developed by a group of NPS staff and interns, this film explores the trauma, resilience, and beauty of the African American experience in our country.

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    Graphic for a Black History Month Roundtable event, detailed alternative text is on the webpage
    The graphic is an announcement for an event. Text on the graphic reads "Power of Parks for Health. Panelists - Black History Month Roundtable. February 25, 2021 6:30 to 8:30 PM EST" and includes logos for the National Park Service and National Environmental Education Foundation. The graphic also includes a line of portraits of the event's panelists inlcuding Michael Chambers II, Porsha Dossie, Aby Sene-Harper, Nicole Jackson, and Tyrhee Moore.

    Additional information about this event is available throughout this webpage.

    The Power of Parks for Health

    In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the partnership between the National Park Service and the US Public Health Service, we are hosting a year-long series of educational and celebratory events to share the history of the partnership, highlight the role of public health in parks, and launch efforts to begin planning for a health focused future. During Black History Month, join us for a virtual Power of Parks for Health. Panelists - Black History Month Roundtable on February 25 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm ET hosted in partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF).

    The Beginnings of Black History Month

    Historical photo of Dr. Carter G. Woodson
    Dr. Carter G. Woodson, pictured c.a. 1915, is universally known as the "Father of Black History."

    Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, NMAH, Smithsonian Institution

    Black History Month, or African American History Month, began as a weeklong celebration in 1926. Since the 1890s, Black communities celebrated the birthdays of two people considered to have a big impact on Black history in the US: Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson was one of many people who traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in a national celebration of the 50th anniversary of nationwide emancipation. He was inspired by experiences from his trip to create an organization to promote the study of Black life and history. Soon after he helped to form what is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the sponsors of Black History Month.

    Dr. Woodson dedicated his life to institutionalizing the field of Black history, including by advocating that it be a regular part of formal education. In 1926, he created the celebration of "Negro History Week" during the second week of February timed with the birthdays of Lincoln and Douglass. Dr. Woodson and other advocates provided educational materials each year, such as lesson plans, pictures, scripts for historical performances, and posters. Fifty years later, the weeklong celebration became a month long and has been recognized by presidential proclamation every year since.

    Visitor looking out a window at a row of townhouses

    Carter G. Woodson Home NHS

    Walk in the footsteps of Dr. Carter where Black History Month began in his DC home and headquarters.

    Desk with a typewriter and old telephone

    Mary McLeod Bethune Council House NHS

    The National Council of Negro Women in DC helped promote "Negro History Week" and created a national archive for Black women's history.

    Featured Stories

    The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, our official partner, continues to organize a nationwide effort to celebrate Black History Month and recommends themes each year. During this Black History Month, the National Park Service and our partners are exploring stories about Black families, representation, identity, and diversity of past and present as told through national parks and through our programs and partnerships.

    Two-story white house on a big lawn

    This Month's National Park Getaway

    Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio remembers the legacy of legendary soldiers and a distinguished American leader.

    Rainbow over a field of crops

    "Oh, Nicodemus!"

    A short film woven together by a poem explains the epic story of an enduring town founded by former enslaved Americans settling in Kansas.

    Face of a metal statue of Harriet Tubman

    Black Women and the Fight for Equality

    Black women have always served on the front-line in the fight for equality. Follow the journeys of some influential advocates in US history.

    Portrait of Michelle Duster

    A Great-Granddaughter's Reflections

    One hundred years later, Michelle Duster reflects on the the life and legacy of prominent civil rights leader Ida B. Wells.

    Marker indicating where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his

    Retracing the Path of Bayard Rustin

    An organizer of iconic protests during the Civil Rights Movement, Rustin advocated for Black and LBGTQ communities.

    Illustration of a cowboy throwing lariat

    Engaging with Cowpoke History

    Learn more about Black cowboys and cowgirls making a life out in the American West during the 19th century.

    Small wooden school house on a prairie

    Homesteaders on the Great Plains

    Explore the places and personal journeys of Black Americans homesteading throughout all the Great Plains states during the 19th century.

    Historic black and white photo of a group of Black soldiers preparing halibut

    Black History in the Last Frontier

    A new publication explores the achievements and contributions of Alaska's Black community while they endured many challenges.

    Black and white photo of a man standing next to a road paver

    Every American's Conflict

    A short film explores the experiences and contributions of African Americans in Chickamauga before, during, and after the Civil War.

    Bas-relief of a soldier on horseback riding along a line of marching soldiers

    Story Keeper of the 54th Massachusetts

    After serving in the famous 54th Massachusetts Regiment, Luis Emilio published a book to share the story a "A Brave Black Regiment."

    Two underwater divers looking a something with a tape measurer

    Youth Diving With a Purpose

    Black youth are training in underwater archeology to make sure maritime heritage and people's stories are not forgotten, ignored, or lost.

    Conversations About Representation, Identity, and Diversity

    The National Park Foundation, an official partner of the National Park Service, explored ways people tell stories to interpret history, reflect on their journeys, and make personal connections with parks. .

    World War II-era military plane hanging in a museum exhibit

    10 Parks that Honor Black History

    Explore ten parks that share African Americans’ contributions to our history and culture interwoven into our collective national heritage.

    Nannie Helen Burroughs, Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, and Mary Burnett Talbert

    Four African American Suffragists

    Anacostia Park reflects on the 19th Amendment and women’s suffrage by remembering a few influential leaders in the movement.

    Line of people on the steps of a historic church

    Making "Twenty & Odd"

    A group of National Park Service filmmakers shows what happens when stories are told by the people closest to them.

    Park Ranger Elijah Prince standing next to his painting of a ranger

    An Artistic Journey of a Park Ranger

    Artist Elijah Prince talks about his art series depicting a woman “growing” through national parks and becoming a park ranger.

    A large group of youth and a dog posing for a picture in a wooded area

    Beyond the Written Word

    Join a Q&A with Harriet Tubman NHP Intern Journee Harris as she shares why oral history is so important.

    Group of hikers with gear standing in the woods

    How to Get Your Nature Swagger Back

    Outdoor Afro’s Rue Mapp is empowering the next generation to not only discover the outdoors but also become outdoor leaders.

    Historic black and white photo of a 19th-century military camp

    Freedom and Hope at Camp Nelson

    Discover Camp Nelson National Monument, which served as a major emancipation site and refugee camp during the Civil War.

    Cherry blossom branches in front of a tall statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Take A Walk In His Footsteps

    Follow the footsteps of civil rights activist and leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through national parks.

    The 19th Amendment and Beyond

    August 26, 2020, marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution that gave women the legal right to vote but did not always protect every woman's right to vote in practice. In commemoration of the centennial, we are exploring the complex history involving Americans of all backgrounds fighting for and against women voting. Read stories about people's roles in the suffrage movement and beyond as the struggle for civil rights and to open more doors in civic engagement continued.

    Video screenshot of a collage of Black women and a partial NPS arrowhead and video title

    Suffrage in Sixty Seconds Video

    In this episode, learn how Black men and women ensured their voices were heard when marginalized in the fight for equality.

    Illustration of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony with text reading

    "The Agitators" Podcast Series

    This podcast series tells of the enduring but complex friendship of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass as they fought for civil rights.

    Graphic that includes a picture of Ida D. Wells and text reading

    "Truth is of No Color" Podcast

    In this episode of "And Nothing Less," listen how the suffrage fight was as much about race as it was gender.

    Graphic that includes an illustration of two kids with text reading

    "Harriet" Kids Podcast

    In this episode of "The Magic Sash," kids can meet the heroic Harriet Tubman and find lesson plans to learn more about her.

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      A Continuing Tradition of Service

      Before the creation of the National Park Service in 1916, predominantly Black US Army calvary regiments known as "Buffalo Soldiers" served as the first rangers for the country's new national parks. In the summer of 1903, Captain Charles Young became the first Black national park superintendent when his troops were tasked to manage and protect Sequoia National Park. Today a tradition of service continues with employees, volunteers, interns, and partners in many National Park Service career fields, including natural and cultural resource management, law enforcement, interpretation, administration, and much more.

      Park ranger going over a Junior Ranger book with a kid

      Become an Employee

      Learn more about permanent and seasonal jobs with the National Park Service in a wide range of career fields.

      Female volunteer looking through telescope

      Volunteer

      Help care for your national parks by volunteering during a one-time event or on a reoccurring basis.

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      Partnerships

      Create possibilities to preserve America's treasures in national parks and communities across the country for all Americans to enjoy.

      Park ranger showing something in his hand to three interns

      Internships

      Jumpstart a career through internship programs to get hands-on experience in a variety of career fields.

      Intern holding a GPS unit and wearing a backpack GPS device

      Spotlight on Mosaics in Science

      The Mosaics in Science Internship Program provides youth from under-represented communities experience in natural resource science careers.

      Portrait of an intern outside near a body of water

      Spotlight on HBCUI Program

      The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Internship Program gets participants engaged in stewardship of public lands.

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        Featured Parks and Places

        More than 400 years of Black history and heritage is found in national parks or shared through National Park Service programs and partners in communities across the country. While we commemorate Black History Month with this year's theme, here are some parks and places with conversations about representation, identity, and diversity.

        Trip Ideas

        Parks and partners have suggestions for self-guided activities to learn more about Black history and heritage. You can also find a park to begin planning your own visit and get tips to recreate responsibly.

        Large red brick church with two spires

        "We Shall Overcome" Travel Itinerary

        Connect churches, private residences, and public sites of protest that spoke to the history of the African American Civil Rights Movement.

        Several scuba divers communicating underwater

        Travel Florida Shipwrecks

        The Diving with a Purpose program and other underwater archeologists are part of an effort to document shipwrecks off the Florida coast.

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