Black History Month

Black Americans have been some of the most impactful leaders in the medical, political, and literature fields by continuously working hard to give back to their communities and advocating for what is right. For years black individuals have fought a long battle to be recognized for their incredible culture and contributions to their communities. SOMD will be joining in the celebration of recognizing the contributions and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage all February long, join us in learning more about different incredible Black Leaders who have paved the way for the many generations to come.


  • Black History Month began in 1915, 50 years after the 13th amendment abolished slavery and starts on February 1st and goes all month long.
  • The following September, Carter G. Woodsen, a Harvard-trained historian, and Jesse E. Moorland, a prominent minister established an organization (ASALH) that promotes Black Americans’ achievements. 
  • The group sponsored a week that celebrates African American’s in 1926, the group chose the first week of February to coincide with Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglasses birthdays. This event created excitement and spread to schools and communities all around the world to create more organizations, advocation for black individuals, and education on culture. 
  • In 1926, the group declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” to recognize the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. 
  • Other counties such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands celebrate Black History Month since the week was created to recognize Black American’s. 
  • In the 1960s, because of the Civil Rights movement and growing awareness of the week-long celebration that eventually it was changed to “Black History Month”.
  • In 1976, President Gerald Ford acknowledged Black History Month and said, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 
  • Black History Month is about celebrating various contributions from activists and civil rights pioneers. A few of these people were: Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks.
  • Here are a few additional incredible Black Women leaders who you may not know have furthered medical research, politics, and literature. In 1986, Dr. Patricia Bath was an ophthalmologist who invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment. Later she became the first Black woman doctor to receive a medical patent. Pauili Murrary was a feminist and civil rights icon, who was influenced by King and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In 1971, Murray wrote a letter to President Nixon asking to be the replacement for retiring justice, Hugo Black. 
  • Since 1976, each US President has chosen a theme for Black History Month. The theme for 2022, is “Black Health and Wellness”. 
  •  This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. 

How to observe:

  • Recognize the contribution and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage. 
  • Learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes. 
  • Donate charities that support anti-racism equality and equality. 
  • Purchase, read, or share about black authors.
  • Visit museums 
  • Watch TV or Movies by black Directors and Authors
  • Attend Black History Month Events 
  • Listen and learn more about Black artists
  • Share about what you’ve learned


Additional Resources:


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I’ve decided to join the celebration of Black History Month by (___how you plan to celebrate, EX: purchasing black literature, learning new information___) and sharing about what I learn all month long about the African American culture and accomplishments of famous black leaders. Join me by checking out the link below to start learning more about Black History Month and the people who fought for this month of celebration.  

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