A message from Mayor Lou Manzo:
February is Black History Month and this year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness. Beyond the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western Medicine, the 2022 theme considers activities, initiatives and rituals that Black communities have done to be well.
This week we hear from Margo Brooks Carthon, our township’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Advisory) Board Vice-Chairperson:
Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora and provides an opportunity to understand Black histories, going beyond stories of racism and slavery to shine a spotlight on Black achievement. It is also a good time to remember that while celebrated in February, Black History is American History, and should be celebrated year-round.
Test your Knowledge of Black History Month Facts. Do you know when the recognition began and who originated it? Black History Month’s first iteration was Negro History Week and was created in February of 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. Mr. Woodson was born in Virginia, the son of slaves, and become a notable educator, historian and author. He achieved graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Harvard and eventually became the Dean of The College of Arts & Sciences at Howard University. Why is Black History Month celebrated in February? Woodson chose February for the weeklong observance as it coincides with the birthdates of both former US President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
When did the month-long celebration receive national recognition? Black History Month, as we know it today, did not become nationally recognized until the 1970s. Black students and educators at Kent State first celebrated Black History Month in January and February of 1970. Other educational institutions started following suit, and for the United States’ bicentennial (in 1976), President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, as has every president since. Is Black History Month celebrated anywhere else? Yes, in Canada, they celebrate it in February. In countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Ireland, they celebrate it in October.
Special thanks to Margo for her input here and to all our IDEA Board members for the work they are doing on behalf of our community. We love living here and proudly support the inclusive environment that exists, as we continually work to spread that culture.
For more information on this year’s theme, go to asalh.org/black-history-themes.