Why does Black History Month occur in February? The relevance of February goes back to 1926 when the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)’s founder Dr. Carter G. Woodson first established “Negro History Week” during the second week of February. And why that week? Because it incorporates the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass—two iconic American symbols of freedom. When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926, he realized the importance of providing a theme to address social topics.
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.
Black History Month highlights and celebrates those who’ve impacted not just the country but the world with their activism and achievements and is an opportunity for people to engage with Black histories, go beyond discussions of racism and slavery, and highlight Black leaders and accomplishments.
As Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian Institution said at the opening of the Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016: “There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honoring our struggle and ancestors by remembering”.