2022- Celebrate Black History Month: Health and Wellness
February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements of Black communities and honor the significant role and impact they have made on all facets of life and society throughout 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. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.
This year’s theme is “Black Health and Wellness,” which acknowledges the legacy of Black scholars, medical practitioners and health care workers whose activities and initiatives have positively impacted the health and wellness of Black communities. Focusing on the overall wellness of this community is particularly important now because of the impacts of COVID-19 on people with underlying medical conditions.
Throughout the month, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will highlight the work of Black men and women whose efforts in the field of health care have increased representation and helped shape modern medicine.
For information and resources on key health concerns impacting the Black community, prominent historical figures in the medical field, and downloadable materials, visit the OMH Black History Month website.
The theme for 2022 focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, 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.
When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926, he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. The intention has never been to dictate or limit the exploration of the Black experience, but to bring to the public’s attention important developments that merit emphasis.
For those interested in the study of identity and ideology, an exploration of ASALH’s Black History themes is itself instructive. Over the years, the themes reflect changes in how people of African descent in the United States have viewed themselves, the influence of social movements on racial ideologies, and the aspirations of the black community.
The changes notwithstanding, the list reveals an overarching continuity in ASALH–our dedication to exploring historical issues of importance to people of African descent and race relations in America.