Black History Month is celebrated every February as an homage to the achievements of African Americans who have shaped American history. The idea was started in 1915 by historian Carter G. Woodson. The Harvard-trained historian and others in his group wanted a way of promoting achievements of African Americans. That group is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life History. The group chose the second week in February in 1926 to celebrate “Negro History Week.”. In the late 1960s, the week evolved into an entire month, thanks in large part to the civil rights movement.
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., birth-workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. In order to foster good health and wellness clinics were established by individuals, grassroots organizations and mutual aid societies, such as the African Union Society, National Association of Colored Women and Black Panther Party, to provide spaces for Black people to counter the economic and health disparities and discrimination that are found at mainstream institutions.
These disparities and anti-Blackness led to communities developing phrases such as “When white folks catch a cold, Black folks get pneumonia.” Initiatives to help decrease disparities have centered several outcomes, including having more diverse practitioners and representation in all segments of the medical and health programs including such as the Ronald E. McNair Scholars. Even the impact of popular culture texts like Doc McStuffins cannot be dismissed.