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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    Black Health and Wellness

    The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASAHL), our official partner, organizes a nationwide effort to celebrate Black History Month each year. During this Black History Month, the National Park Service and our partners are participating in conversations around this month's theme "Black Health and Wellness", With more than 400 national parks and National Park Service programs and partnerships working with communities across the country, there are endless opportunities to use these spaces for physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellbeing.

    How do you use parks for health and wellbeing? Join the conversation and share your experiences on social media using #PowerOfParksForHealth, #HealthyParksHealthyPeople, and #BlackHistoryMonth.

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    Find a Park

    There are more than 400 national parks across the country. Find a park where you can enjoy your chosen activity.

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    The NPS App

    Visiting a national park? There is an app for that. Use the NPS App before and during your trip to make the most of your experience.

    Graphic for a Power of Parks for Health Roundtable for Black History Month

    Power of Parks for Health Roundtable

    Listen to a discussion hosted during last year's Black History Month as panelists share their personal stories and experiences.

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    Get Hooked on Parks

    New to national parks? Try one of these "gateway activities" to ease into enjoying your public lands.

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    Become a Park Health Ambassador

    Experience the Power of Parks for Health by exploring wellness in nature and sharing your experience with others!

    A Look Back at Black Health and Wellness

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      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

      Origins of Black History Month

      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.

      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.

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      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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        Calendar of Events

        Set the calendar to February to find in-person and virtual events, tours, festivities, and other programs hosted by national parks for Black History Month. Use this calendar to also look ahead to find more Black history and heritage programs throughout the year. Find tips to recreate responsibly when visiting a park.

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        News

        Stay up to date with National Park Service news for Black History Month and the work we do year-round to preserve and share Black history and heritage.

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          Last updated: February 14, 2022