LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- We're just days before the end of another Black History Month, but in an age where the President of the United States is African American, is Black History Month still necessary or even relevent?
The celebration of African American history began in 1926 with Negro History Week, the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans.
Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
"It's an important part of recognizing African American achievements in American history," says John Kirk, a history professor at UALR.
In 2008 American voters elected the first black President, a political victory some saw as evidence of how far race relations have come since slavery in the United States.
This has prompted many to question whether Black History Month is still relevant.
"As long as we have a need for affirmative action, to me that proves there's still a need," says Antoinette Johnson of Little Rock.
"People seem to think that it's for the black population, but the reality is it's really for everyone outside," says Jolly Oppedisano.
On the other side of the issue, Little Rock resident Michael Hall feels that Black History Month has become just a label. And he's not alone.
"I don't think we need it anymore," says Little Rock resident Simone Lewis. "I've always heard celebrate black history 365 so why would you need a month?"
For Doctor Charles Stewart with the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, it's not a question of whether to eliminate the month altogether but how the country can work better to incorporate black history into everyday American History curriculum.
"Until that happens I think that we need to at the very least highlight Black History Month," says Dr. Stewart. "I think we need to level that playing field and make sure that the achievements of all Americans is given the approriate exposure."
Stewart says that popular history books do mention some African American heroes but those are usually centered around civil rights curriculums and only list three or four trailblazers.
Meanwhile UALR historian Josh Kirk points out the civil rights movement is perceived quite differently overseas. The most studied area of American History in Great Britian is black history.