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Victor Armstrong, MSW

Vice President of Behavioral Health for Atrium Health, and a member of the National Council's Board of Directors

What Does Black History Month Mean to Me?

February 21, 2020 | Uncategorized | Comments
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To me, Black History Month is an opportunity to rewrite and reclaim the narrative. History has always been recorded and recited from the perspective of the majority. That is neither right nor wrong, good nor bad – it simply “is.” For one month of the year, the nation’s focus is on the contributions of African Americans. It is an opportunity to reflect on both the contributions and challenges of black Americans throughout history.

As a mental health professional, it is a time to celebrate the contributions of people like Solomon Carter Fuller, MD, a pioneering African-American psychiatrist who made significant contributions to the study of Alzheimer’s disease, or Mamie Phipps Clark, Ph.D., the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate degree in psychology from Columbia University.

Black History Month is a time to be more inclusive. To seek to understand what is “not” recorded in history that highlights the greatness of our country and richness of our collective heritage. It is also a time to ask, “What if?” What if we didn’t have to review and define black history through the prisms of stigma and historical adversity, which includes race-based exclusion from health, educational, social and economic resources. What if “history” were inclusive of the contributions of all people … every month?