Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their role in history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of 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.
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.
Click on the downloadable PDF below for the 2022 Black History Theme Executive Summary.
Hallmark shares a few ideas to celebrate and honor Black History Month:
Uncovering stories or discovering new angles on the stories you thought you knew can be an empowering and enlightening experience.
- Explore online archives. Start with the U.S. National Archives of African-American history, a digital hub of records, interviews, documents and more.
- Visit local museums. Many museums have taken their programming virtual, expanding access for everyone. Check your local museums for upcoming events or find a nearby African-American museum through this directory.
- Trace your genealogy. Because of slavery, many African Americans struggle to trace their genealogy before emancipation came. Even so, a combination of family oral histories, documents and records made more available by online ancestry sites and DNA tests have let some Black people go back further than was once thought possible, revealing a proud, resilient and diverse history covering hundreds of years.
- Read firsthand accounts. While there is much more to Black history than slavery, there is much we can learn from this painful past, which chronicles stories of resistance, defiance, strength, ingenuity and transcendence. You could read the stories of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs or Robert Smalls, for instance. And you can read firsthand accounts of lesser known and unknown Black people who actually lived through slavery from projects like the Federal Writers’ Project.
The best way to celebrate and honor Black History Month is to use the time to cultivate your own curiosity and learning. Let what you learn and how you celebrate be the inspiration others need throughout the year.