February 1 signifies the start of Black History Month, the annual celebration of achievements by African Americans, and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. In 1926, the month was created as a weeklong celebration by Carter G. Woodson and was called “Negro History Week”.
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.
This year’s Black History Month theme focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners but also scientists, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists and many others.
To foster good health and wellness in communities of color, extensive efforts and social support initiatives have been made in research and infrastructure such as hospitals, medical and nursing schools, such as Howard University College of Medicine, Provident Hospital and Training School, and Morehouse School of Medicine. In addition to these more well-known efforts, local work continues to increase the quality and services of community clinics. These clinics were established by individuals, grassroots organizations and mutual aid societies to provide spaces for people of color to counter the economic and health disparities and discrimination found at mainstream institutions.
The rise of fields like Public and Community Health has led to a rise in preventive care and a focus on body positivity, physical exercise, nutrition, exploring other dietary options such as veganism and vegetarianism, and gardening. Black Health and Wellness not only includes one’s physical body but also emotional and mental health. And because of these efforts, our understanding of Black health and wellness is broader and more effective than ever before.
CMC celebrates and salutes African Americans who have fought against injustice and have paved the way for a healthy prosperous future, free of disparities and discrimination.
CMC Employees Say:
I look forward to Black History Month as it is a reminder to share the knowledge and accomplishments of those who do not get the spotlight so easily. It is a time to reflect on the countless contributions Black Americans have made which continue to impact society today and generations to come. I especially love that we get to celebrate culture and build our communities while making connections with people both locally and globally.
– Tanisha Rankin
Over the last decade, it feels like the collective consciousness of America, towards the achievements and struggles of black people, has been raised and Black History Month (BHM) has greater or as great relevance as it ever has. Every year, I learn something new and inspirational about the contributions that black pioneers and heroes have made to our nation and the world. The best thing about BHM is it’s not just for black people, it’s for everyone.
– Ryan Kershaw