February in History
The Romans added February to their calendar around 700 B.C. February is named after Februus, the Roman god of Purification.
During the middle ages, February 14th was believed to be the day when birds started to mate. Valentine’s Day was named after Valentine of Rome, a Christian martyr thought to have been executed February 14, 269 A.D.
The third Monday in February is President’s Day, a legal holiday honoring our first President, George Washington (born on February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president, (born on February 12, 1809). The holiday falls on February 18th this year.
In 1865 (on February 1) President Lincoln approved the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, abolishing slavery. This day is commemorated as “Freedom Day.”
On Lincoln’s Birthday
In 1909 W.E.B. Dubois and Ida Wells-Barnett founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Dubois, author of Souls of Black Folk, was born on February 23, 1868.
In 1939 black contralto Marian Anderson (born Feb. 27, 1897), was prevented from singing at the Lincoln Memorial by the Daughters of the American Revolution because of her race. Her performance was rescheduled, and 75,000 people heard her sing on the steps of the Memorial on April 9 (Easter Sunday).
Other Events in Black History
On February 3, 1870, the 15th Amendment was ratified, guaranteeing the right of citizens to vote regardless of race, color or “previous condition of servitude.”
In 1895 (on February 20) abolitionist writer and former slave Frederick Douglass died.#