During the annual occasion – and every day throughout the month of February, the Nation celebrates Black History Month by honoring the contributions that African Americans have made throughout history. Reflecting, recognizing, and appreciating Black Americans role in shaping the success of our nation.
2022 Black History Month Theme: Black Health and Wellness
This year’s theme for Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness, as outlined by the Association for the Study of Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), an organization aimed to promote, research, preserve, interpret, and disseminate information about Black life, history, and culture to the global community.
Several events across the country – in cities, in communities, on college campuses, and more – are scheduled for this month.
Honoring Black Men and Women
At Indiana University Bloomington, the college is holding the Black History Month Kick-off on February 1, hosted by The City of Bloomington.
“This year’s theme looks at how American healthcare has often underserved the African-American community and the legacy of Black contributors, scholars, and medical practitioners in Western medicine,” Journal of the Community Foundation of Bloomington Monroe County reports.
Related: 2022 Black History Theme
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has recently shown, a wide disparity of access to quality healthcare negatively impacted outcomes for Blacks and other minorities. For African Americans, the root of the problem goes deep and back centuries.”
Here are some key facts about Black History Month in the country:
- The U.S. Census Bureau reports:
- The current population of Black and African Americans makes up 46.9 million, the U.S.
- 89.4% of African Americans age25 and older had a high school diploma or higher in 2020.
- 30.7% of the employed Black population ages 16 and older working in management, business, science, and arts occupations in 2019.
Carter Woodson: the Father of Black History
- In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, which corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History organization, Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875 to newly freed Virginia slaves. He later earned a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Rather than focusing on two men and the black community, he believed the focus ought to be on the countless black men and women who had contributed to the advance of human civilization. He worried that Black children were not being taught about their ancestors’ achievements in American schools in the early 1900s (ASALH, 2022.)
The Significance of the ’60s
- By the late 1960s, what started as Negro History changed into what is now known as Black History Month.
February Became The Chosen Month
- In 1976, this celebration was expanded to include the entire month of February, and today Black History Month garners support throughout the country as people of all ethnic and social backgrounds discuss the black experience (ASALH, 2022.)
- The month of February was picked for Black History Month because it contained the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, and Douglass, a former slave who did not know his precise birthday, celebrated his date of birth on Feb. 14
Historical Perspectives of ASALH
- ASALH has celebrated Negro History Week and Black History Month for 95 years.
- Fifty years after the first celebrations, at the During the country’s 1976 bicentennial and fifty years after the inaugural celebrations, then-President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month.
40 Years After the First Black History Month Celebration….
- Forty years after Ford formally recognized Black History Month, Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president, delivered a message of his own from the White House. “Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of greatest hits from the March on Washington or from some of our sports heroes … It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans.” (NPR, 2022)
- Canada and Germany also celebrate Black History Month in February.
Advancing Carter Woodson’s Legacy
- At the time of Negro History Week’s launch in 1926, Woodson believed the teaching of Black history was key to the physical and intellectual survival of the race within society “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” as the Journal of Negro History reported.
- This year’s theme for Black History Month is Black health and wellness; past themes have included the Family, Black migrations, and Black women in American culture and history, Crisis in Black Education among others.
- ASALH views the promotion of Black History Month as one of the most important components of advancing Dr. Woodson’s legacy.