By AFRO Staff

2022 was full of Black excellence, amazing feats and yes, some tragic moments. This year, Black women dominated the headlines as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to be named to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Harvard named Claudine Gay as the first Black president in the institution’s 400 year history. From COVID-19’s Omicron variant to monkeypox, the AFRO covered it all! Take a look below to recall some of 2022’s highs and lows. 

Ukrainian soldiers prepare to fire a French-made CAESAR self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions near Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Libkos)
  • Maya Angelou becomes first Black woman to have her image appear on a U.S. coin. On Jan. 10, the  U.S. Mint released quarters bearing the image of the award winning writer, performer and civil rights activist. The decision was part of an initiative that the U.S. Mint calls the first “American Women Quarters” series. Angelou is best known for her poetry and her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
Maya Angelou coin (Credit: Image courtesy of U.S. Mint)
  • The omicron variant triggered a spike in COVID-19 infections at the top of the year, accounting for a quarter of U.S. pandemic cases in January, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Only 25 percent of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated in the first quarter of the year.
  • Russia attacked Ukraine in February. Ukraine has been pummeled with air and missile strikes for a majority of the year. The conflict with Russia has been largely aimed at Ukrainian civilians as they try to take control of areas like Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and Kherson. Russia and Ukraine have been in a long battle for power that was started by Russia in 2014. The attack has caused tension with America, which has assisted Ukraine in their fight that has caused global inflation and supply chain issues
  • In February more than 3,000 opioid crisis-related lawsuits were settled with OxyContin manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and the “big three” distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health. The companies agreed to pay $26 billion to offset the economic and social costs of widespread addiction
  • A baby formula shortage began in February in the U.S., on the heels of supply chain issues linked to COVID-19. The shortage came after a recall of potentially hazardous baby food. Abbott Nutrition issued two recall announcements in February after cronobacter sakazakii and salmonella contamination in their products led to several hospitalizations and two infant deaths.
  • Boxes of top secret files were found in Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-lago Estate in Florida in February during an FBI raid.
  • Federal Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed April 24 by a 53-47 Senate vote to be the first Black woman U.S. Supreme Court justice.
  • A self-described racist targeted a Buffalo, N.Y. supermarket on May 14, killing 10 Black people and wounding another three. Patrick Gendron pleaded guilty to murder and hate crime charges for the shooting, which he carried out specifically looking to take as many African American lives as possible. 
  • A gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde,Texas on May 24. Armed with an assault rifle, in a 90-minute period, he killed two adults and 19 children before police breached the classroom and killed the gunman.
  • The first public Congressional hearings related to the Jan.6, 2021 attack on the national capital began on June 9. A special committee chose to investigate the attempted insurrection and former President Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 election results,
A video of former special assistant to the President, Cassidy Hutchinson, is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, Thursday, June 23, 2022, at the Capitol in Washington. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

In June, Americans across the country felt pain at the pump, as inflation and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict escalated.

On June 24 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, rolling back decades of protections that ensured a woman’s right to have an abortion performed by a medical doctor.

The CDC declared monkey pox a public health emergency in August.

Shanquilla Robinson’s Oct. 29 death made headlines after the – year-old died in Cabo, Mexico. Robinson’s friends allegedly pushed the narrative that Robinson died of alcohol poisoning to her family. But then a video surfaced showing her in a violent physical altercation and a Mexican autopsy report confirmed that she actually died from a broken neck. 

​​In December 8th, President Biden announced the release of WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner from Russian custody after spending nine months on what president Biden refers to as “wrongly detained” on drug charges upon her arrival to Moscow. A massive campaign was launched along with Family members and friends, celebrities, and the U.S. government officials advocate for Brittney Griner’s freedom and safe return to the United States of America. (Fatiha)

On Dec. 19 Congressional members on the January 6 special committee recommended criminal charges for former president Donald Trump.

Maryland Gov.-elect Wes Moore speaks to supporters at an election night event in Baltimore, Md., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
  • On Nov. 8 Wes Moore was elected to serve as Maryland’s first Black governor
  • On Dec. 15, Harvard University named Claudine Gay as 30th president of the esteemed institution. She is the first African American to lead the school since its’ inception roughly 400 years ago.
  • Jaylen Smith became the youngest Black mayor in America this year after the people of Earle, Ark. elected him at the age of 18.

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