The Importance of Celebrating Black History Month in the U.S.

By David Kyne

February 18, 2020

February 18, 2020 – February is Black History Month in the U.S., a time for us to recognise, reflect and celebrate the many accomplishments of African Americans, especially their impact on health and communications.

In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson was disturbed that many textbooks and historical documents minimised or ignored the contributions of African Americans and used the second week of February to raise awareness of these stories. This week was initially chosen to commemorate the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln – both of whom played essential roles in the abolition of slavery in the U.S. It wasn’t until 50 years later, in 1976, that this week of observance became an official month to celebrate by U.S. President Gerald Ford, who urged everyone to, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Since then, many throughout the world have consciously used designated time to remember people and events impacted by those of the African diaspora (While the U.S. celebrates in February, Ireland and the UK observe it in October.) We, too, honour the many African Americans who have positively changed history, specifically in the fields that impact our work the most.

Please take a minute to watch this important video that our Diversity & Inclusion and Creative teams created to showcase black pioneers within Communications/PR, Pharma, Public Health and Digital fields. We will be sharing it on our social media channels, so please feel free to share/repost with your networks as well.

May we all use this month to continue to learn more about the achievements of African Americans and celebrate the significant impact that they have had on our history. I’m so proud that as health communicators, we’re able to carry on the impressive legacy of these individuals.