A service in honor of Black History Month will be held Sunday, Feb. 13, at 3:30p.m. in The Memorial Church, Harvard Yard. The Rev. Professor Peter J. Gomes will preach; the title of his sermon is “Who Are Your People?” Music will be provided by the Kuumba Singers, the Harvard University Choir, and the choirs of Charles Street A.M.E. Church in Roxbury. The service is sponsored by the Association of Black Faculty and Administrators and The Memorial Church, and is coordinated by Charles Gordon, president of the Association of Black Faculty, Administrators, and Staff at Harvard.
“This is an occasion not only to celebrate the black experience in America but the black presence at Harvard,” said Gomes. “I hope students and staff and other friends will join us in making a witness for Harvard and its African American presence.”
Black History Month arose from “Negro History Week,” instituted in the United States in 1926 at the suggestion of Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now known as the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History). Woodson chose February because both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were born during that month two people he felt had a dramatic effect on the lives of black Americans. The week was expanded to a month in 1976 and renamed Black History Month. The Memorial Church has celebrated this month with a special service since 1993, and has included members of the University community.