Updated: Apr 28, 2022
Many activists, politicians, and civil rights pioneers have contributed to Black history. The unique contributions of some of our Black pioneers such as Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Rosa Park.s help us to never lose sight of all that we have done as a race to be where we are today - celebrating Black History Month.
Black History Month is an annual celebration that began in the US in 1926. Also referred to as African American History Month, the occasion grew out of “Negro History Week”. One historian, Carter G Woodson, put forward marking a period tributing the African Americans and lifting the apprehension of Black history. Today, the US and many other countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and Canada, set time to acknowledge the contribution and achievements of Black people.
How do we celebrate in 2022?
Among many ways to acknowledge Black history, several places across the globe host events, including activities at universities, nonprofits, public organizations, and museums. Each year, there is a theme set aside to mark the celebration. For the year 2022, the theme for Black History Month has centered on Black people’s health and wellness. “The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals, and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well,” stated the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). “This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora.”
How can we celebrate?
There are a number of ways to celebrate Black history, this month, and every month. One thing is sure, celebrating Black history should not just be preformative but at its core seek to stem the injustices and biases experienced by the Black race daily. Here are five things you can do:
1. Contribute to Black charities and organizations.
Contributing with money or other forms of support needed to a Black charity is a crucial way to assist a movement or a group. Where your donation can help fund programming and pay for fees and other expenses, all of which are necessary to keep an organization afloat.
You may support nonprofits that support Black youths while also advocating Black rights and equal justice like Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, and Black Girls Code, to name a few.
2. Stop by a Black history museum.
Seeking knowledge from such historical sites helps to relearn flawed teachings about Black history and the Black race. Many cities across the world have museums dedicated to Black history and some libraries have reading sections dedicated to the work of Black people. This learning can be self-directed and done on your own time all year long.
3. Participate in local Black History discussions and events.
Set aside time to attend discussions on this year’s theme on Black health and well-being but also keep an eye out for events that happen throughout the year celebrating Black excellence. While Black History Month 2022 pays attention to Black people’s health and wellness and stories that are often ignored or erased, similar stories are being told all year round by different organizations. Such engagement could help to increase our focus on the contributions of minority groups that have led to the creation of other month-long celebrations like Women’s History Month (in March).
4. Support Black Musicians and Learn the History of Black Music.
Black music communicates and encourages significant knowledge that touches beyond trauma and struggles to uplift the civic engagement, liberation, and creativity of Black people–now and year-round. Several internet streaming music providers are curating collections during Black History Month, such as Spotify's Black History is Now collection, which offers a large collection of Black music. There are many others on various platforms where you get your music.
5. Consider watching Black history films.
On several streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus, you can find film works like movies and documentaries about the experience of Black people. These platforms have created a list of feature films and documentaries, including “Black is King” which is a visual inspired by the story of Lion King.
Whether you listen to Black History podcasts or watch Black history films, it all sets as a way to honour notable persons and events in the history of the African diaspora for not just Black History Month but all year. This year’s theme calls everyone, especially Black scholars and medical practitioners to act on and talk about health and well-being initiatives in Black communities.