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Honoring Black History Month and Mental Health

February brings the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month and examine, learn and revisit the missing and unacknowledged chapters in our history as a nation.

Learn more about how to honor African-American contributions in the United States in order to create a mentally healthier world that recognizes overlooked communities and their stories.

How to Honor Black History Month and Improve Your Mental Health

Through the practice of exploring the unexamined and untold stories about the contributions, traumas and triumphs of African-Americans, it is our greatest hope that we will move towards expanding our current understanding of Black History to be comprehensive, ongoing inclusion of what is deemed as “American History” and improve mental health across the U.S. as a result.

This February, we have an opportunity to cultivate a tradition of inclusive education, one that will transcend beyond the month.

The Embark Diversity and Inclusion Yields Change (DIYC) Committee is honored to share African-American stories of people, places and events to honor both Black History and mental health this month.

Through this endeavor, we hope to:

  • Celebrate the ongoing examples of brilliance, excellence and success of African-Americans who have, and continue to, pave the way to give rise to a better America
  • Encourage ourselves to further examine how systemic racism and covert systems of oppression perpetuate the art of exclusion and the erasure of the complete history of events within our nation
  • Expand our knowledge of the contributions, struggles and resiliency of African-Americans
  • Support one another in recognizing the pivotal roles African-Americans have and continue to play in our country

Little-Known Black History Facts and Figures

About Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of African-Americans’ achievements and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S.

The Man Behind Black History Month

Carter G. Woodson, an African-American author, historian and the son of former slaves, is known as “The Father of Black History Month.” Woodson chose the month of February to coincide with Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. February 1st is also National Freedom Day, which is the anniversary of the approval of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865.

The Agricultural Pioneer

George Washington Carver was an African-American educator and scientist. He is most well-known for his inventions, including a number of uses for the peanut. Did you know George Washington Carver was the first African-American to have a national monument dedicated to him?

The Civil Rights Icon

Baynard Rustin was a master strategist and tireless activist. He is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the U.S.

The Father of Black Psychology

Francis Sumner, a leader in American education reform, is well-known as “The Father of Black Psychology” as he was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in psychology. His support of educational justice and understanding of racial bias led him to become one of the founders of the psychology department at Howard University.

The Forgotten Hero

Octavius Catto was one of the most influential African-American leaders in Philadelphia during the 19th century. Catto was an athlete, Civil Rights activist, educator and scholar.

The Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement

Dorothy Height was both an American civil rights and women’s rights activist, as well as an influential and widely respected leader of organizations focused on improving the circumstances of and opportunities for African-American women.

The Unsung Hero

Cathay Williams was a female soldier who enlisted in the U.S. Army under the pseudonym William Cathay. She was the first African-American woman to enlist, and the only one who is documented as having served in the Army posing as a man.

The Warrior Poet

Audre Lorde is a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” who dedicated her creative talent and life to addressing and confronting the injustices of classism, homophobia, racism and sexism.

If you, a teen or young adult loved one are struggling with mental health and wellness this month, don’t hesitate to reach out for help or learn more about one of Embark Behavioral Health’s treatment programs.

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Brandon Spence