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President Donald Trump looks on during an event in the East Room of the White House on November 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

For centuries, education in the United States focused almost solely on the history of White male European explorers and settlers. Finally, in 1976 as part of the country's bicentennial, President Gerald Ford declared February Black History Month—an event already recognized by numerous states by then.

In the following decades, months were designated to nationally observe the contributions and history of other groups long underrepresented in school curriculums such as women, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Arabs, Jews and LGBTQ people.

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