Celebrating Black History Month 2022

  • Published
  • By Mr. Walter W. Napier III
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing


Each year, during the month of February, the United States celebrates Black History Month.  The goal of this month is to set aside a time to honor Black history, and to raise awareness for issues important to the Black community.  Every year, a particular theme is selected, and for 2022 the theme focuses on Black health and wellness, which during the second year of a pandemic is clearly something that has an additional emphasis.  But have you ever wondered why Black History Month is celebrated in February?

In 1875, Carter G. Woodson was born to former slaves Anne Eliza and James Henry Woodson in New Canton, Virginia.  As a teen, Woodson moved to West Virginia with his brother in hopes of attending Douglass High School (a secondary school that educated African Americans at the time), which he was unable to do until he was twenty.  Once admitted he would excel in his educational pursuits, and continue his education earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from Berea College (1903), than an A.B. and A.M. from the University of Chicago (1908), and finally earning a Doctor of Philosophy in History from Harvard University (1912).  He was only the second African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard, the first being W.E.B Du Bois. 

Dr. Woodson focused his research on the importance of African Americans in American History, and pushed for scholarly investigation for ignored, misrepresented, and underrepresented populations in his own and other cultures.  In 1915, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.  In 1916, he began publishing the Journal of Negro History, now called The Journal of African American History.  He also published books investigating Black education, migration, history and churches. 

In 1926, Dr. Woodson began “Negro History Week,” a week dedicated to historical investigation of African Americans in and throughout history.  The idea exploded in popularity, and was accompanied by parades, speeches, poetry readings, exhibits, and other festivities to celebrate.  He chose the second week of February to celebrate because of the coinciding birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809) and Frederick Douglass (February 1818, exact date unknown).  The celebratory week continued but during the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s, the suggestion was made to expand the festivities to the entire month of February instead of just a single week.  In 1969, Black History Month was proposed by the Black United Students at Kent State University, and it was enacted the following year. 

In 1976, President Gerald Ford recognized February as Black History Month during the United States Bicentennial.  Black History Month had officially moved out of the universities and into the mainstream.  Since 1976, every United States president has designated February as Black History Month.  The event has even began outgrowing the borders of the United States.  Canada now celebrates Black History Month in February along with the United States, while Ireland and the United Kingdom hold celebrations during the month of October. 

If you are interested in taking part in any Black History Events, I am going to provide links below.  There are both in person and virtual events available. The appearance of external links on this site does not constitute official endorsement on behalf of the 514th Air Mobility Wing, the U.S. Air Force Reserve, the U.S. Air Force or the Department of Defense.






New Jersey State Events:


Association for the Study of African American Life and History:




Other Virtual Events: