Celebrating Black Health and Wellness

In the month of February, across the nation, we celebrate Black History Month. In the year 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Shortly after the formation of this group, in 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week- a week in February that was picked due to its correspondence with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, exactly 50 years later, Negro History Week was lengthened to the whole month of February and began to be recognized across the nation shortly after.

The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History has since changed their name to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History or ASALH. However, they still honor the month of February as Black History Month. As stated earlier, Black History Month was first celebrated in 1926, meaning we’ve been celebrating this month for almost 100 years, but many people still know very little about Black History Month and what it means. Black History Month began as and still is a celebration of the history of African Americans as well as their achievements. Shortly after the organization of Black History Month, ASALH began to designate a theme for Black History Month every year. According to their website some of these themes include the crisis in black education, African Americans in times of war, black migrations, along with so many others. The theme this year is black health and wellness.

According to ASAHL:

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.

There are so many opportunities to get involved in this celebration. Due to the current pandemic, ASAHL are hosting their annual Black History Month events online to celebrate. These events include a festival opening, a panel on health care disparities in Urban African American communities, several book talk events from numerous authors, as well as many discussions and conversations on relevant topics, and more!  

In addition to hosting Black History Month Events, ASAHL also hosts several activities throughout the year. According to their website these activities include:

•    Sets the annual theme for Black History Month. Establish Annual Black History Theme
•    Publish Annual Black History Theme Learning Resource Package
•    Sponsor annual Black History Kick-Off Events
•    Host Annual Convention and Black History Month Luncheon
•    Establish, nurture and grow ASALH Branches, including campus-based branches & youth guilds.
•    Manage professional Speaker’s Bureau
•    Establish national and local Partnerships
•    Host Essay Contest for undergraduate and graduate students
•    Promote oral, public and local history projects

•    Commemorate the birth of our founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson

For more information regarding this organization and the celebration of Black History month visit their website https://asalh.org/

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