Since 1982, Aetna's African American History Calendar has featured African American role models whose vision, intellect and heart have, in countless ways, shaped what our country is today. More than 300 individuals -- pioneers in fields such as business, government, athletics, science, education, medicine and the arts -- have been featured in the calendar.
From Jackie Robinson, who changed the face of baseball forever, to Elijah McCoy, praised inventor who was the inspiration for the phrase "the real McCoy," from Earl G. Graves, founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine, to television news anchor Robin Roberts -- all of the individuals featured in the calendars have demonstrated great strength, perseverance and grace in succeeding in their chosen fields.
By showcasing outstanding individuals who have achieved greatness in their respective careers and lives, young and old alike get a glimpse of future possibilities.
1982 - 1989: Equality and Civil Rights
The 1982 through 1989 calendars featured individuals whose work for equality and civil rights -- from the Civil War to present day -- has shaped our conscience and paved the way to a more just society. Regardless of background, heroes such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth risked their lives so future generations would be free. Others such as Mary McLeod Bethune, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, Arthur Alfonso Schomburg and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worked to both unite African Americans and document their history.
1990 - 2001: The Love of Profession
In the 1990s and into the new millennium, the calendars focused on specific themes -- music, arts, education, health, food and nutrition, business enterprise -- and highlighted prominent African Americans' contributions in these areas. Today, we listen to the jazz licks of Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, read the medical research of Dr. Alvin Poussaint and legal opinions of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, marvel at the robotics expertise of Dr. Bartholomew Nnaji, and enjoy the theatrical artistry of Denzel Washington and James Earl Jones. These individuals and many others have realized soaring accomplishments through their love of profession, a strong belief system and a devotion to work for the common good.
2002 - 2005: Health Care Disparities
Beginning in 2002, the calendar became an important vehicle for honoring African Americans determined to address and reform the most pressing health concerns of the African American community, including infant mortality, sickle cell disease, heart disease, cancer, asthma, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Each calendar has focused on the 21st-century objective -- to encourage greater awareness and close the racial and ethnic divide in health care quality. From nurse leaders to dentists, physicians to surgeons, pharmacists to medical specialists, the 2002 through 2005 calendars profiled African Americans who are inspired and energized to create healthy communities. These health care professionals have mastered the ability to turn complex details into useful, understandable and culturally competent information that individuals can integrate into their lives.
2006: Celebrating Life
Continuing in its recent tradition to center on health matters, Aetna's 2006 calendar features a lifeline that examines health issues that may affect African Americans at each stage of life -- from early childhood to middle age to older
age. Throughout this calendar, readers will be introduced to 14 passionate health care professionals -- including the motivational "Three Doctors," recognized by Oprah Winfrey as the "premier role models of the world" -- who are devoted to ensuring that fellow African Americans have the opportunity to cherish and celebrate life each and every day.