February is Black History Month – a time to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and recognize the history of the U.S.
Every February since 1976, the President of the United States has designated the month to Black history with a corresponding theme each year.
The Story Behind Black History Month
Black History Month started as national Negro History week in 1926. Sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the organization designated the second week of February to national Negro History week because the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass occur during this week.
Five decades later, this national week turned into a month long celebration of Black history.
This Year’s Theme For Black History Month
During what we now know as Black History Month, this year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness. The theme acknowledges the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners and raises awareness for the activities, rituals and initiatives Black communities partake in, according to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
Black individuals and organizations, such as the National Association of Colored Women, Black Panther Party and African Union Society, have established medical clinics to provide safe spaces for Black people. These clinics help counter discrimination and economic and health disparities found at other institutions.
The Quarter Is Getting A New Look
Author, performer and Black social activist Maya Angelou will be featured on the American quarter this year. She is the first to be featured for the American Women Quarters Program.
Angelou became an international figure when she published her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” She has over 30 other bestselling titles in genres including poetry, nonfiction and fiction.
The U.S. Mint’s American Women Quarters Program will continue through 2025 and feature around five new designs each year appearing on the reverse sides of the coin.
Along with the differences Angelou made in American society, this program celebrates the “accomplishments and contributions made by women to the development and history of our country.”
How You Can Honor Black History Month
Black History Month is a time for everyone to celebrate the achievements Black individuals and communities have made throughout history.
If you’re wondering how you can honor Black History Month, here are a few ways:
- Learn about Black individuals and their achievements
- Donate to anti-racism charities
- Support Black-owned businesses
- Go to Black History Month celebrations in your area or online
Take time this month to acknowledge the accomplishments of the Black community. This year, take some extra time to learn about Black leaders who have advanced the fields of health and wellness.