Black History Month: Honoring the Overcomers

Allee Adkins, Writer

Every February, people all around the United States celebrate the achievements and history of African Americans as a part of Black History Month. 

It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s that this only weeklong celebration was transformed into a month. The United Kingdom followed shortly after, recognizing and celebrating Black History Month for the very first time in 1987. 

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

Today, Black History Month is a time to honor the contributions of African Americans across the U.S and just in everyday society – from activists and civil rights contributors such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks to the leaders in industry, politics, science, and more. 

Every year, Black History Month has a theme. According to “Black Health and Wellness,” this years theme explores “the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g birthworkers, douls, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals, and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.”

Black History Month is a time to honor black people. There are many practical ways you can do this: by supporting black-owned businesses, learning about noteworthy black figures and their contributions and donating to charities that support anti-racism equity and equality. You can also purchase, read and share books by Black Authors, like James Baldwin or Octavia Butler, Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. 

La’Mya Walker, a black student at Woodrow Wilson High School, says “What BHM is a month to actually give credit to the ones who were always thought of as less than. It’s also to honor the ones who have made it possible for POC to be able to be seen as more than just a ‘colored’ person. Black History Month is also a time for others to educate themselves on the discrimination, racism, violence, and other barriers that POC have had to break to make it possible to live in a somewhat safe environment.” 

There are many other ways to give back to the black community, like joining the Diverse Students Organization. The meetings are held every Thursday, usually in D11 or the cafeteria. For more information, visit their instagram page, @diversestudents.