February: Black History Month
February is “Black History Month,” which in 2022 will focus its theme on “Black Health and Wellbeing.” Numerous events are scheduled through the end of the month and some will also take place in March.
Black History Month is celebrated every year in February in tribute and recognition of the valuable contributions that citizens of African descent have made to the United States and their role in the development of this country. It is also a tribute to all black citizens who fought for what is right: equal rights, an end to racial discrimination and segregations, and all the marginalization and abuses they have historically suffered since 1619, when the first black Africans arrived in the Americas to be exploited as slaves.
Black History Month is celebrated in February in other countries, such as neighboring Canada, as well as in Europe (Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom), which commemorate it annually in October.
More than a Century of Black Tradition
Black History Month originated in 1926, half a century after the abolition of slavery in the United States declared in the 13th Amendment. However, the struggle of the African American population for their civil rights had to continue until the seventies of the last century, and continues today, because there is still a long way to go towards equality and total equity.
We must continue to overcome the prejudices and white supremacist ideology that, unfortunately, remains in the closed and obfuscated minds of many racist white citizens.
The initiative to institute Black History Month came from historian Carter G. Woodson, who in 1915 traveled from his home in Washington D.C. to Chicago to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the emancipation of the African American community. This event inspired him to create the ASNLH (Association for the Study of Black Life and History), along with noted minister Jesse E. Moorland.
The Legacy of Blacks in America
This year, Black History Month “explores the legacy of not only Black scholars and physicians in Western medicine, but also other forms of knowledge (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, and so on) throughout the African diaspora,” the Alaska Black Caucus explains on its website (www.thealaskablackcaucus.com). “The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that black communities have undertaken to be well.” It is supported by AARP Alaska, an organization that works to improve the quality of life for citizens in this state.
The program of activities is also supported by a grant from the Municipality of Anchorage Health Department.
Alaska Black Caucus is proud to present monthly community conversations, focusing on topics related to the impacts of COVID-19 and health disparities in the BIPOC community.