Indies Celebrate Black History Month By Looking to the Past and the Future

By
NEW YORK—In 1915, Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). In 1926, the association, which “was dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent,” according to History.com, began sponsoring a national “Negro History Week.” Celebrated on the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, this week-long event grew into the Black History Month we now celebrate each and every February. President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month in 1976.

These days, Black History Month is a time to celebrate and honor Black history, as well as look forward to the future. Within the optical community, many independent ECPs and independent Black-owned brands are celebrating the month on social media. Here, we take a look at some of those celebrations.



Independent brand Fubu, which includes Fubu Frames, is celebrating small Black businesses all month long. Image via fubu on Instagram.


Coco and Breezy Eyewear is spending the month highlighting Black “creatives, innovators and culture shifters from the past and of the present.⁠” They started with Michaela Coel. Image via cocoandbreezyeyewear on Instagram.


Black-owned eyewear brand Nroda spotlighted the Black frames from its Speak Volumes collection. Image via nrodaeyewear on Instagram.


Brooklyn-based Black-owned eyewear brand Vontelle Eyewear is spotlighting Black Americans with its Black History Tribute series on Instagram. The series has covered innovators from Powell Johnson to Whoopi Goldberg. In this image, the series celebrates scientist and mathematician Katherine Johnson. Image via vontelleeyewear on Instagram.


The team at independent Black-owned practice Socialite Vision in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is celebrating the launch of Fubu Frames, as well as the brand’s celebration of Black history. Image via socialitevision on Instagram.


Erika Cox, OD, at Infocus Eyecare in Cordova, Tennessee, celebrated three pioneering Black American doctors: Dr. Ida Gray, Dr. Patricia Bath and Dr. Paula Newsome. Image via drerikacox on Instagram.


Keith James, OD and Yvonelle Moreau, DDS, who own Eye Smile Optometry & Dental in Arlington, Virginia, celebrated Black History Month with a powerful graphic. Image via eyesmilecentro on Instagram.


The team at Omega Optical, a Black-owned practice in Philadelphia, also shared a powerful graphic to celebrate. Image via omegaoptical on Instagram. 






This is just a small sampling of Black-owned businesses who are celebrating Black History Month this year. Many more have shared their celebrations online in the Instagram hashtags #blackoptometrist. In addition, Black Eyecare Perspective has spent the whole month of February celebrating those who are “making Black optometry history.” The full series is on the Instagram page.