February is Black History Month. We celebrate and pay tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society and make their marks on history.
The observation of Black History Month dates back to 1915, when Carter G. Woodson, now known as the “Father of Black History,” created an organization called the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Seeking to bring even more stories of African Americans to light, in 1926 Woodson founded the first Negro History Week. It wasn’t until 1976 that President Ford extended the observation to a full month - one honoring the contributions of Black Americans to this day. For Woodson, such associations and commemorations provided a kind of “real education” - one that “inspires people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”
How to Celebrate
Request a screening of “The Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution.” A PBS feature, narrated by Danny Glover and directed by Charles Burnett, this film tells the story of how in less than four months, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now HHS) used the roll-out of the federally funded Medicare program in July 1966 to compel hospitals to racially desegregate — in terms of patients, doctors, medical staffs, blood supplies, and linens.
Host Lunch & Learn sessions! Learn about some of the African American pioneers in public health and science.
Share personal stories – Learn about our colleagues, their diverse experiences, and how they help enrich our workplace culture.
Consider hosting a book club focusing on African American authors, biographies, or history.
In Washington, D.C.? Take a trip over to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture. It is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. Can’t make it to DC? Take a look at their exhibitions online. https://nmaahc.si.edu/
Music! Explore the countless African American musicians and artists!
Let's eat! Try a potluck, cooking class, cook off, or recipe exchange?