By Cristin Ross

February is America’s 82nd annual Black History Month, and Jacksonville College will have a program at 7 p.m. Thursday at the college’s chapel to pay homage to the country’s great African American history-makers.

“We celebrate Black History Month to honor those Americans and remember their impact on shaping this country,” said Dr. Jim Spurgeon, JC’s dean of students.

Guest speaker for JC’s event is Horace Williams, pastor of Sweet Union Baptist Church.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Web site, noted African-American author and scholar Carter G. Woodson originally established a Negro History Week in 1926, which evolved into the establishment of February as “Black History Month” in 1976.

“When Woodson established Negro History week, he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public,” the Web site states. “The intention never has been to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.”

The Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History has established the national theme for the month-long celebration. The national theme for the celebration is “Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism.”

The Web site states, “During the early years of the 20th century, a small number of intellectuals began to question whether America was simply a transplant of English civilization.

“Among those intellectuals of the Progressive era, Carter G. Woodson did most to forge an intellectual movement to educate Americans about cultural diversity and democracy. For the sake of African Americans and all Americans, Woodson heralded the contributions of African Americans and the black tradition.”