Every February, Americans celebrate Black History Month. This year, we invite you to join us in remembering the accomplishments of Black citizens, past and present, which are an integral part of American history.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans.
The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other people of African descent.
Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing "Negro History Week." By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, "Negro History Week" had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.
President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Black History Month 2022 Theme
Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.
The Black History Month 2022 theme, “Black Health and Wellness,” explores "the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well."
Whether it’s the deeply-needed activism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the cultural contributions of authors like Zora Neale Hurston, or the unprecedented achievements of former President Barack Obama, current Vice-President Kamala Harris and soon, the first African-American female Supreme Court Justice, America owes much to her Black citizens.
This month, let the words of Thurgood Marshall remind us that when Americans “...recognize the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”1
To your success!
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1. History.com, 2019
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Celebrating Black History Month, 2022
February 01, 2022