Black History Month 2022: Celebrating Health and Wellness

Kara Lynch, News Editor

Midwife Mary Francis Hill Coley was able to deliver over 3,000 babies. This year the 2022 Black History month theme is celebrating people of color like her. Black History month, February, has encouraged education and recognition of black history for over 50 years. Since 1976, Black History Month has observed a certain theme. This year the theme is Black Health and Wellness, focusing on wellbeing practices and traditions of the Black community.
Originally known as Negro History Week, the celebration has always been about informing and educating others. Historian Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week inorder to encourage schools to host speakers, spotlight Black figures, and commemorate Black history. Towns began to recognize Negro History Week, giving it exposure. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month.

Photo Courtesy of Public Domain Pictures

The 2022 theme also sheds light on midwives, doulas, and birth-workers. These medical workers hold a significant place in African-American history as devotees who provided physical and emotional support to mothers during birth. In fact, before the 1930’s most women had their children at home with midwives. Although they faced contention from physicians who desired to push

them out from the profession, Black midwives persevered.There have been many Black pioneers in the medical field. In 1942, Dr. Charles Drew was the first director of the American Red Cross Bank, and in 1985, Dr. Edith Irby Jones was the first woman elected president of the National Medical Association. These professionals have paved the way for others and have contributed to their field of study immensely. These are the types of figures the 2022 theme is celebrating.

While the Black health and wellness theme acknowledges important individuals it also alludes to how health care often treats Black people unfairly. During segregation and the Jim Crow Law era, Black people had separate hospitals that were often unsupported and would lack efficient supplies or staff. Yet still today, Black people and other minorities have trouble gaining affordable and helpful medical care.
From midwives to scientists the 2022 theme of Black History Month spotlights them all.