African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings since their arrival upon these shores. These efforts have been to advocate for a dignified self-determined life in a just democratic society in the United States and beyond the United States political jurisdiction.
The theme of Black Health and Wellness acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.
The Black Family has been a topic of study in many disciplines—history, literature, the visual arts and film studies, sociology, anthropology, and social policy. Its representation, identity, and diversity have been reverenced, stereotyped, and vilified from the days of slavery to our own time.
The year 2020 marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. The year 2020 also marks the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of Black men to the ballot after the Civil War. The theme speaks, therefore, to the ongoing struggle on the part of both Black men and Black women for the right to vote.
Black Migrations emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and, subsequently, to new social realities. While inclusive of earlier centuries, this theme focuses especially on the twentieth century through today.
"Civil Rights in America," marking the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, was the theme selected by the ASALH in 2014." The history of civil rights in the United States is largely the story of free people of color and then African Americans to define and enumerate what rights pertain to citizens in civil society. It has been the history of enlisting political parties to recognize the need for our governments, state and federal, to codify and protect those rights. Through the years, people of African descent have formed organizations and movements to promote equal rights.