Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.
The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Woodson chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass, a famed abolitionist who escaped from slavery, and President Abraham Lincoln, who formally abolished slavery.
Carter G. Woodson, who is is often deemed as the father of Black History, realized how important it was to give the public a theme to focus on.
According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), a group started by Woodson, “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.”
The theme of Black History Month for 2022 is Black Health and Wellness, which explores "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."
Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.
Video Credit: asalh.org