Washington, D.C. Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, . 16pp. Original printed self wrappers, stapled. Minor wear and rubbing to outer leaves, else clean. Very good. Item #4593
An unrecorded pamphlet pertaining to the precursor of Black History Month, Negro History Week, this edition containing the first separate printing of Langston Hughes's poem, "Ballad of Negro History." The poem is a celebration of Black historical figures going back to the "Ancient Pharaohs" and mentions numerous prominent African Americans such as Crispus Attucks, Denmark Vesey, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, James Weldon Johnson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, W.E.B. Du Bois, Carter Woodson, Countee Cullen, Ralph Bunche, and Josephine Baker. Hughes's "Ballad" previously made its very first appearance in the February 1952 edition of The Negro History Bulletin; the typescript of the poem at UMass-Amherst states that the poem was written in June 1951. In addition to Hughes's poem, the work contains a detailed suggested daily schedule for a Negro History Week celebration, with each day involving some combination of prayer, songs, readings, lessons on prominent African American historical figures, and so forth.Following the schedule are "Suggested Recitations" that might be used during the week, such as Paul Laurence Dunbar's poems "The Seedling" and "The Lesson," Mavis B. Mixon's "I Am a Negro," a short play by Nerissa Long Milton, two songs by James Weldon Johnson, and the aforementioned poem by Langston Hughes.
Launched in 1926 by Carter Woodson ("The Father of Black History"), Negro History Week was the precursor to Black History Month, renamed to the latter in 1970. Black History Month was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976, and has grown steadily in celebration and prominence since then. A small pamphlet of 8 pages was published in the early 1940s titled, Bibliographical Suggestions for Negro History Week. The present pamphlet of "Suggestions" for observing Negro History Week was first issued in the 1940s in an edition of 14 pages (OCLC reports a single copy at the Wisconsin Historical Society); the present edition is slightly expanded to 16 pages and adds the Hughes poem (we could locate no copies in OCLC). Further expanded editions followed later in the 1950s and beyond, and all are rare.