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Every February is Black History Month, an occasion that has been nationally recognized since 1976. This is, of course, common knowledge – less well-known is that every year, Black History Month has a different theme. Below, learn more about this year’s Black History Month theme and its significance.
What is this year’s Black History Month theme?
The Association for the Study of American American Life and History (ASALH), an organization that studies and brings awareness to Black American history, annually designates a theme for Black History Month. This year’s Black History Month theme is “the Black Family,” a topic that encompasses Black representation, identity, and diversity.
Scholars from various fields such as history, sociology, anthropology, literature, and film studies have studied the importance of Black families and Black representation. Their research has shown that Black representation has often lacked diversity despite the fact that many individual Black families are diasporic and diverse.
As such, during Black History Month, the ASALH encourages people to discuss Black history and the societal contributions of Black Americans. Additionally, the ASALH encourages people to discuss the very importance of discussing these topics, as well as others such as Black childhood, sexuality, gender norms, and parenting.
How is this year’s Black History Month theme being celebrated?
This year, you can celebrate Black History Month by attending virtual lectures and events (in previous years before the COVID-19 pandemic, Black History Month events were often held in person). The ASALH is hosting a virtual festival of scholars discussing Black American, African, and Afro-Latinx history.
Some museums are hosting virtual events during Black History Month. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, which holds the world’s largest permanent exhibit on African-American culture, is hosting a series of free events. These events include Wednesday night Black storytellings and Saturday morning workshops on making comics. The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, also offers a slew of free virtual events you can attend.
What were some other recent Black History Month themes?
2016’s theme was “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories,” a theme about places in America where Black Americans made history. In 2017, Black History Month’s theme was called “The Crisis in Black Education.”
Black History Month’s 2018 theme was “African Americans in Times of War,” and 2019’s theme was “Black Migrations,” which addressed the regions to which different Black diasporas have traveled. Last year’s theme was “African Americans and the Vote,” which focused on how Black people have faced voting discrimination and how Black Americans continue to fight for the right to vote.
Is there news yet about future themes?
The ASAHL has announced that 2022’s theme for Black History Month will be “Black Health and Wellness.” Next year’s theme will focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Black Americans.
According to the ASALH’s introduction of the theme, overcrowded residential spaces and hospitals, underfunded hospitals, and other pandemic work conditions have hit the Black community the hardest. COVID-19 death rates among Black and Brown people have been higher, and the ASALH will raise awareness of this fact during 2022’s events. Additionally, the theme of 2023’s Black History Month will be “Anti-Black Violence and Resistance in the Diaspora.”