An interesting press release was published by the White House, which is titled “President Donald J. Trump Proclaims February as American Heart Month.” With heart health being an important topic, and many people wearing red on Friday, February 3, in order to promote healthy hearts, the article was timely. However, with February being dubbed “American Heart Month” by President Trump, the reaction on social media has plenty of African-Americans asking if that means February is no longer Black History Month — or African-American History Month — anymore.
As seen in the following tweet, Mr. Trump was already getting criticized online for calling Black History Month “African-American History Month.” However, as reported Snopes, President Trump was not the first president to call Black History Month “African-American History Month” — Presidents Clinton, Obama and George W. Bush have all used the term “African-American History” month.
President Trump also received plenty of blowback for his words about Frederick Douglass. As reported by the Washington Post, Mr. Trump said, “[Douglass] is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.”
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) February 2, 2017
Although the Trump administration did not specify that “American Heart Month” would replace “Black History Month,” that’s the way plenty of people online are viewing the action of declaring February “American Heart Month.” As seen in the below tweet from TV One, those sentiments are being expressed via the #BlackHistoryMonth hashtag. The publication brought up something long joked about regarding February being the shortest month of the year and Black History Month as well. With the accusation that Mr. Trump could replace Black History Month with American Heart Month showing up on social media, it seems a step backward for some folks regarding the White House’s view on African-American history.
— TV One (@tvonetv) February 2, 2017
As noted in the press release, heart disease death rates have gone down, but heart disease is still a leading cause of death in the U.S.
Therefore, February has been dubbed American Heart Month, in order to focus on the criticality of preventing and treating heart disease. The press release doesn’t mention American Heart Month replacing Black History Month in February, but the absence of any mention of Black History Month as a shared February celebration along with American Heart Month is rubbing some folks the wrong way.
Whereas Mr. Trump wrote about Melania Trump and the president inviting every American to wear red on Friday, February 3, to celebrate National Wear Red Day and focus on heart health, President Trump’s recent words about Douglass, combined with dubbing February American Heart Month, has brought some scathing reactions online.
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim February 2017 as American Heart Month, and I invite all Americans to participate in National Wear Red Day on February 3, 2017. I also invite the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the American people to join me in recognizing and reaffirming our commitment to fighting cardiovascular disease. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first. DONALD J. TRUMP.”
A search of Facebook for the words “Trump Black History Month” along with information about American Heart Month turns up a plethora of reactions from people assuming that Mr. Trump has gotten rid of Black History Month.
A search on Twitter for “Trump Black History Month” also shows reactions from people who are assuming that Mr. Trump is trying to do away with Black History Month. However, the White House press release did not mention Black History Month was being deleted.
In fact, February was proclaimed “Heart History Month,” according to The American Presidency Project, since the days of President Lyndon B. Johnson, back on December 30, 1963, when a yearly proclamation designating February as American Heart Month was requested. According to Time, Black History Month was observed nationally in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, meaning that Black History Month actually came after Heart History Month.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]