Morgan Freeman Explains Why He 'Detests' Black History Month: 'My History “Is” American History'

"This whole idea makes my teeth itch. It’s not right," Freeman told Variety while speaking about his new project 'The Gray House'

<p>Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty </p>

Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty

Morgan Freeman is detailing why he doesn't like celebrating Black History Month — while questioning why it falls on the "shortest month in a year."

The Academy Award winner, 87, has previously called the annual observance an "insult" and one that "relegate[s] my history to a month." In a new interview with Variety, he's elaborating on his feelings.

“I detest it. The mere idea of it," Freeman shared in an interview on Saturday, June 15, a day after he picked up the Crystal Nymph award at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival.

"You are going to give me the shortest month in a year? And you are going to celebrate ‘my’ history?! This whole idea makes my teeth itch. It’s not right."

While speaking about executive producing the new Civil War series The Gray House, which opened at the festival over the weekend, Freeman added: "My history is American history. It’s the one thing in this world I am interested in, beyond making money, having a good time and getting enough sleep," he said.

<p>Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty </p> Morgan Freeman attends Oceana's 16th Annual SeaChange Summer Party held at The Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach on July 22, 2023

Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty

Morgan Freeman attends Oceana's 16th Annual SeaChange Summer Party held at The Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach on July 22, 2023

Related: How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Archewell Foundation Celebrated Black History Month

The Shawshank Redemption star previously expressed his distaste for the phrase in an interview with The Times in April 2023, when he questioned both "Black History Month" and the term "African-American."

In 1976, President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month as a national holiday, decades after Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland began celebrating with a week-long recognition in February of the many contributions Black Americans have made to society.

As previously reported, the month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Other countries also celebrate Black History Month, with the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Ireland doing so in October.

"Black History Month is an insult," Freeman previously told The Times in 2023. "You're going to relegate my history to a month... Also 'African-American' is an insult. I don't subscribe to that title. Black people have had different titles all the way back to the N-word and I do not know how these things get such a grip, but everyone uses 'African-American'."

"What does it really mean? Most black people in this part of the world are mongrels," Freeman continued about the term being used in the same context as Irish-Americans or Italian-Americans. "You say Africa as if it's a country when it's a continent, like Europe."

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Freeman said at the time that he was in "total agreement" with a sentiment once shared by Denzel Washington: "I'm very proud to be Black, but Black is not all I am."

"You can't define me that way," he said.

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