Black History Month 2022: Our Past, Present and Future
On this first day of Black History Month, we kick off this annual celebration to recognize the often-neglected achievements of Black Americans and the significant role we play in building America. While our achievements cannot be fully appreciated in a singular month, we acknowledge and celebrate the achievement of Black Women. Together, we are improving our mental, physical, financial, and community health.
The History of Black History Month
The observance of Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, began in 1926 by Historian Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week. Woodson wanted the people and events of the African diaspora to be remembered. He believed it to be essential to the physical and intellectual survival of Black people in America.
Negro History Week was held during the second week in February. It fell between the birthdays of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Abolitionist Fredrick Douglas (February 14 ). In 1969, Black students at Kent State recognized the month as Black History Month. More than six years later, the month became a national celebration recognized by the federal government, religious and educational institutions, banks, and other businesses.
Celebrating Today’s Leaders
As Black Women our voice is clear. We are progressive, and we are here. Countless Black Women are influential movers and shakers, yet the march toward social justice is still needed. We will continue to address the visible and undeniable issues of disparity and inequality as long as our success is fully recognized. Our community of Black Women will be our own voice. We will celebrate and recognize our accomplishments and triumphs. This is an annual occasion to ask why and when will change come and remind the world how far we have come.
The progressive efforts of our modern torchbearers continue to raise up all women. We celebrate them all for their contributions and efforts to raise us up with them. Recent figures include:
- U.S. Vice President Kamila Harris who we salute as she holds the second highest office in the land
- We give utmost respect to Voting Rights Advocate Stacy Abrams
- National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gordon leaves us in awe of her genius
- We hold the eloquent First Lady Michelle Obama and her charismatic leadership in the highest regard
Recognizing Yesterday’s Trailblazers
Sojourner Truth so eloquently asked, “Ain’t I a Woman?” The answer remains the same, but then, as now, we do not receive the admiration and commemoration we deserve. This Black History Month of 2022, let us rally together by using Shirley Chisholm’s historical quotes. They give us the appropriate frame of reference to improve the state of Black Women. She wrote:
“We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves.”
“It is not female egotism to say that the future of mankind may very well be ours to determine. It is a fact.”
“At present, our country needs women’s idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.”
Black Women of Achievement Memorialization
Many are aware that Harriet Tubman was critical in the liberation of Blacks in America. Because of that legacy, the Harriet Tubman Tribute Act of 2019 ensured her likeness would be used on the $20 bill by 2020. It has not yet been implemented because some government leaders believe she would be better suited on the $2 bill. However, we expect to soon celebrate Tubman on the $20 bill as a tribute to — hers and ours — Black historical accomplishments.
We also anticipate a historical moment for the U.S. Supreme Court. Only a few Black Women have ever been nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. We hope to see history made by having the first Black Woman appointed as a Justice to the Supreme Court during President Joe Biden’s first presidential term.
The Future of Black Women
In so many ways, Black women continue lifting the historical bar to achieve success. The BWHM will continue to share some of those accomplishments on our social media platforms throughout the month — from art to music to business and education.
Solely because of the color of our skin, we have surmounted overwhelming odds on an uneven playing field. Countless studies and their findings are irrefutable: the external oppression we continue to face is real. Yet, in spite of that, we continue to grow. We strive as we continue to evolve our thinking using awareness and strategy.
- We will not get in our own way.
- We will not give in to overwhelming and defeating frustration.
- We will continue to remind each other how important we are.
- We rock together in the name of our gender and our race.
Black Women let’s commit to celebrating our achievements of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Let us harness the power of our love, intelligence, and experience. Create opportunities to exemplify what equality and social justice look like. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, with one small addition: Our hope is that “children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin [or gender], but by the content of their character.”