Black History Month occurs every February. It is an annual celebration of achievements by the African American community and the recognition of their role in American history.
Since 1976, the United States and every president has honored Black Americans in the month of February. Other countries around the world also honor Black History Month.
Here is everything you need to know about Black History Month and how to celebrate in San Francisco:
Origins of Black History Month
After the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in 1915, it paved the way for Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-educated historian, and minister Jesse E. Moorland created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). It was designed to honor and teach about significant achievements and contributions by Black Americans.
Today, it is known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Carter created Negro History Week, the original Black History Month. He chose February due to the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass falling within the same week, the second week of February.
Negro History Week spawned countless additional celebrations and events in schools and throughout the communities. Word spread and the celebration continued to spread throughout the country. Events surrounding the group offered:
- Local celebrations
- Hosting performances
- Establish history clubs
- And more
Over time, National Negro Week successfully evolved into Black History Month and continues to honor the legacy of star pioneers of the civil rights movement such as Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, politics, culture, science, and more.
2022 Black History Month Theme
Each year, Black History Month boasts a different theme. For 2022, the president has endorsed this year’s theme: Black Health and Wellness. After the novel coronavirus began its destruction back in late 2019, health and wellness have been even more in the spotlight as a crucial investment. This year, Black health and wellness have taken the front seat.
The 2022 theme will offer information and educational material for the Black community that explores the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners. The lectures and events span well beyond scholars to midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, and more.
Black History Month Events in San Francisco
San Francisco offers many events in celebration of Black History Month. The San Francisco Public Library made a declaration that it is “More Than a Month”.
Here are some of the most popular events celebrating the Black community in San Francisco:
Meditation in the S. F. Public Library African American Center
Each week, meditation services are offered. Take time out to meditate, restore your energy, calm, and peace. Hosted by Dennis Billups, a blind disability rights activist who is also a heavy-hitter in the Netflix documentary “Crip Camp”.
Meditation sessions occur from noon-1 p.m. on Wednesdays, February 2, 9, 16, and 23. Masks must be worn and proof of vaccination mandatory.
24th Annual S.F. Independent Film Festival presents: “The Sleeping Negro” and “Across”
Famed filmmaker Skinner Myers is airing his movie “The Sleeping Negro” at the annual S.F. Independent Film Festival. The story features a young Black man who struggles with self-confidence and finding inner peace after committing criminal acts at the order of his white boss.
“Across” was created by Matthew Riutta and moderated by San Francisco examiner race and equity columnist Teresa Moore.
Proof of vaccination and masks mandatory. Reservations are required. Options to view online are available at www.sfindiefest2022.eventive.org.
Marin Theatre Company presents: “Pass Over”
A play starring Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu is being performed at the Marin Theatre Company beginning Wednesday, February 2nd through 20th. The story is about two Black men restricted by fear and feeling lost as they witness their friends being killed by the police.
Tickets run from $25 – $60. Proof of vaccination, masks, and reservations are mandatory.
BAMPFA presents: An online conversation with Robert Moses
A live stream conversation with Robert Moses is being offered to the public. Robert Moses Kin is a popular director and choreographer for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lorrain Hansberry Theater, and the San Francisco Opera. He spreads his wealth of knowledge across the world, on college campuses, and at a variety of annual festivals.
Friday, February 4th at 12:30 p.m. You can join the live stream at www.bampfa.org. Registration is required.
“Reparations” –an all-Black drag show with Kerri Colby
Music played by Jason Godfrey and hosted by Nicki Jizz, the late-night all-Black drag show is sure to put the fire under you. Notorious drag stars Mahle Balenciaga, Sir Joq, bebe Sweetbriar, Dvvsk, Alotta Boutte, and many others join the stage to honor Black History Month.
Friday, February 11th, at 10:00 p.m. Proof of vaccination, masks, and reservations are required.