01/25/2013 03:58 pm ET

Table Talk: Celebrating Black History Month

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

Every February, we observe Black History Month to honor the achievements, struggles and heritage of African-Americans.

A historian and activist named Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded what was to become Black History Month in 1926. At first, the celebration was just the second week of the month, which Dr. Woodson chose to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.

But in 1976, during the U.S. Bicentennial, America’s 200th birthday, it was officially expanded to the whole month under President Gerald Ford.

Black History Month commemorates the work and passion of people like:

  • Civil Rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X.
  • Writers, artists and entertainers like Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, Smokey Robinson and Bill Cosby.
  • Scientists and inventors from George Washington Carver to Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

These are just a handful of the leaders who’ve shaped and continue to influence our country’s history, often overcoming major adversity to do so.

Tonight, let’s talk about the importance of diversity, understanding where we came from and honoring these Americans who’ve given us so much.

Questions for discussion:
  • What have you learned in school about the Civil Rights movement?
  • What are you doing in school or as a family to celebrate Black History Month?
  • Have you ever seen or experienced prejudice? How did you act?

In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.