The calendars

Since 1982, Aetna has recognized African Americans whose vision, perseverance and intellect have contributed to our country’s success. In 35 years of published the African American History Calendar, we have profiled more than 400 individuals, groups and institutions whose work for equality and civil rights has shaped our conscience and paved the way to a more just society.


The Flavors of Community – African Americans Inspiring Lives through Food

Food is a building block of good health. And African Americans in the culinary arts are helping to build healthier communities, from Maxcel Hardy III to Rodney K. Taylor.


Champions for Change – African Americans Creating a Healthier World through Sports

Sports can inspire change in an individual, a community and a nation. Learn about the coaches, athletes and teachers who are transforming lives through sports, from Meadowlark Lemon to Joetta Clark Diggs.


Community Transformations: African Americans Creating Sustainable Neighborhoods

We salute passionate and motivated individuals who are transforming their communities from the ground up – sometimes literally. Whether they’re planting urban gardens or providing meaningful employment, community leaders from Charmaine Craig to Rob Finley are making urban communities sustainable.


Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Celebrating African Americans Practicing Physical and Alternative Healing

Everyone wants choices and that’s certainly true in health care. We look at the impact of alternative medicine therapies and those who are integrating them into modern medicine with profiles ranging from Dr. Ifeoma Ikenze to Rolf Gates.


Celebrating Innovation: Leading the Next Generation of Business

Becoming an entrepreneur takes passion, energy and drive. We profile young entrepreneurs and innovators who are successfully leading the next generation of business, from Lisa Price to Tina Wells.


Healthful Blessings: Faith-Based Health Initiatives Making a Difference for African Americans

Faith leaders have an important role as leading voices in their community. Meet those from a variety of religious traditions who are encouraging others to take care of their minds, bodies and spirits, from Bishop T.D. Jakes to Rev. Mary Diggs Hobson.


Serving Our Country, Serving Our Communities: African Americans in Public Service

Selfless service is the foundation of our country, whether it’s in the military or local communities. Read about those whose sacrifices, courage and determination lift us all up, from L. Douglas Wilder to Terry G. Hillard.


Healthy Communities – Health and Wellness Across America

Creating healthy communities does take a village. It takes a village of people and programs dedicated to delivering health and wellness message across America.


Health Literacy: A Dose of Understanding

Health literacy – the ability to understand often-complex health information – can be a real barrier to care. Meet the advocates and educators who are working to improve health literacy in the African American community, from Dr. Cheryl E. Woodson to Ella Williamson.


A Healthful Life Approach: African Americans Addressing Obesity

Our 2007 calendar brought light to a looming issue – the prevalence of obesity in the African American community. We featured individuals and organizations fighting this epidemic from Gwen Johnson to Pastor Glovioell Rowland, PhD, and also included some inspiring weight-loss stories.


Celebrating Life: Empowering a Lifetime of Healthful Outcomes

The 25th anniversary calendar celebrated African American health care professionals dispensing care and compassion at all stages of life, from Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. to Dr. George Jenkins.


RX – African Americans in Pharmacy

Pharmacy is a diverse profession, offering professionals the chance to do everything from caring for those in the local community to discovering new therapies to sustain lives. Healers profiled include Lenore T. Coleman and Sylester Flowers.


Smiles – A Look at African Americans in Dentistry

This edition honored dental professionals working to improve oral health and light up smiles across the country, from Dr. Dennis Mitchell to Dr. Jeanne C. Sinkford.


African American Nurses

Nursing provides countless opportunities, including education, research, clinical practice, administration and writing. Learn about African American nurse leaders, including students poised to take on the future, from Sherrie Hinz to Betty Smith Williams.

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Closing the Health Care Gap: A Call to Action

Those making significant contributions to closing the health care gap and reducing disparities were applauded this year, from Dr. G. Valerie Beckles to Dr. Richard Allen Williams.

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Celebrating Historically Black Colleges and Universities

We celebrated the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities – and their graduates – in the 2001 calendar. Read about 12 of the 100+ HBCUs, from Morehouse to Spelman.

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Leaders of the Century

To mark the close of the 20th century, the 2000 edition spotlighted 12 leaders of the century. Those selected from the distinguished nominees included Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, to Oprah Winfrey, international media star and philanthropist.

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The Gift of Giving Back: African Americans and the Spirit of Philanthropy

Philanthropy has a long tradition in the African American Community. The 1999 calendar profiled some of the nation’s most generous individuals, from Comer Cottrell Jr., a successful entrepreneur focused on improving higher education, to Trish Millines Dziko, a tech pioneer using her money and expertise to educate the next generation of leaders.

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The Story of Fitness

The 1998 edition recognized individuals spreading the message of fitness in the African American community, from Anita L. DeFrantz, the first woman and African American to serve as VP of the International Olympic Committee, to Bill Demby, a double amputee who became the national spokesperson for Disabled Sports USA.

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African American Food & Nutrition: From Survival to Choice

The importance of good nutrition in health was the focus of this edition, spotlighting nutirtionists and chefs from Joseph M. Stewart, a passionate advocate of school nutrition programs, to Bill Williams, the cofounder of Glory Foods.

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The Power of Discovery + The Challenge of History: African Americans in Science

We lauded African American scientists, engineers and inventors responsible for everything from sugar refining techniques to ultraviolet cameras in the 1996 calendar. Read about discoverers from Charles F. Bolden Jr., a space shuttle pilot, to Tony March, CEO of the then-largest black-owned automotive company in the U.S.

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The Emerging Force of African American Enterprise

The unconquerable spirit of black entrepreneurs drove the 1995 calendar, from Early G. Graves, founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine, to Parren J. Mitchell, known as the “Godfather of Minority Business Enterprise.”

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Love, Wisdom and Conscience

We chronicled the importance of mentors in this edition by celebrating those who credit their success to those who encourage them, from Rita Dove, the youngest and first African American Poet Laureate of the U.S., to Alan C. Page, the first black to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

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The Power Within: The Legacy of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams

We celebrated the legacy of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed the first successful open heart surgery, by spotlighting those in the healing arts from Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, the first African American and second woman named U.S. Surgeon General, to Dr. Harold P. Freeman, the then associated director of the National Cancer Institute.

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Into the Shadow of the Great White Way: Images from Black Theater

Theater was the theme of this edition, and we focused on the accomplishments of African American playwrights, directors, actors, actresses and costume designers from James Earl Jones to Cicely Tyson.

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A Hard Road to Glory: A Tribute to African American Athletes by Arthur Ashe, Jr.

We collaborated with Arthur Ashe, Jr. to tell the story of remarkable athletes in 1991, from Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, to Alice Coachman, the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

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The Life and Photographs of Milt Hinton, Jazz Musician

We applauded the work of legendary musicians who influenced jazz great Milt Hinton in 1990’s calendar, from the iconic Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong to Cab Calloway III.

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Calendar of Black History

Those who overcame obstacles were the theme of the 1989 calendar. From Elijah McCoy, the son of fugitive slaves who went on to patent more than 50 inventions, to Charlotte Hawkins Brown, who began her teaching career at the tender age of 12.

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Calendar of Black History

The 1988 edition showcased pioneers from Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the king of tap dancers, to the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military flying unit and holders of one of the best combat records during World War II.

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Calendar of Black History

In 1987, the calendar featured creators who achieved renown, from Academy Award nominated actress Dorothy Dandridge to Scott Joplin, ragtime composer of “The Entertainer.”

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Calendar of Black History

We celebrated quiet heroes in this edition, from Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, an educator and vocal crusader against lynching, to Susan Maria Smith McKinney Steward, the first black woman to graduate from medical college in New York state.

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Calendar of Black History

We spotlighted inspirational African American leaders in 1985, from musician Eubie Blake, who broke color barriers in theaters across the country, to the aptly named John Hope, who melded five leading black college into the presitgious Atlanta University Center.

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Calendar of Black History

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the host of leaders in 1984’s calendar. Others who aspired to greatness and achieved their goals include W.E.B. Du Bois, who helped establish the NAACP, and Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American Pulitzer Prize winner.

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Calendar of Black History

This edition featured more highly respected and acclaimed achievers, from Frederick Douglass, who worked with Abraham Lincoln to help blacks gain freedom to Matthew Henson, who was the first to arrive at the North Pole.

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Calendar of Black History

The inaugural calendar recognized some of the nation’s most influential African American leaders whose will, tenacity and courage enabled them to overcome obstacles and reach for greatness. Read about these influencers, from Jackie Robinson to Sojourner Truth.