National Black History Month (2022)

Feb 4, 2022

February is National Black History Month—a time to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of the Black Community throughout the history of our nation.  What began as “Negro History Week” in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, became a national month of recognition when President Gerald Ford officially acknowledged Black History Month during the country’s 1976 bicentennial.

In a proclamation signed on January 31, 2022, President Joseph Biden said “Across the generations, countless Black Americans have demonstrated profound moral courage and resilience to help shape our Nation for the better.  Today, Black Americans lead industries and movements for change, serve our communities and our Nation at every level, and advance every field across the board, including arts and sciences, business and law, health and education, and many more.  In the face of wounds and obstacles older than our Nation itself, Black Americans can be seen in every part of our society today, strengthening and uplifting all of America.”  (read the full proclamation at

In 2022, the theme for Black History Month is “Black Health and Wellness.” This theme is particularly appropriate at this time as we continue to fight against COVID-19, acknowledging that communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams practiced medicine in the 1890s in Chicago. At the time, African American citizens were not permitted to be treated in hospitals and doctors of color were refused staff positions. In May, 1891, Dr. Williams opened Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses, the nation’s first hospital with a nursing and intern program that had a racially integrated staff. In 1893, Dr. Williams was one of the first people to perform open-heart surgery.  Dr. Williams advocated for African American acceptance in the medical community throughout his career.

Garrett Morgan was an African American inventor in the early years of the twentieth century.  Two of his inventions were especially notable. He developed a “safety hood” breathing device in 1914 that was used as a prototype for gas masks used during the first World War.  In 1923, he adapted the stop/go traffic signal to include the intermediary warning light that we now all recognize as the yellow light on traffic lights. Mr. Morgan’s inventions have been credited with saving countless lives, including fire fighters, soldiers, and vehicle operators.

Percy Julian was not allowed to attend high school. However, this did not stop him. He earned his Ph.D., and was instrumental in the creation of medications to treat glaucoma and arthritis. Dr. Julian was the first black chemist elected to the National Academy of the Sciences, and his development of physostigmine, a treatment for glaucoma, was recognized by the American Chemical Society as “one of the top 25 achievements in the history of American chemistry.”

Dr. Patricia Bath was the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology in 1973 and co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness in 1976–establishing that “eyesight is a basic human right.” In 1986, Dr. Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, a device for improving treatment of cataracts.

These are but a few unsung heroes , who have improved our lives. SeniorCare salutes each of these individuals and thanks them for their work.