Black History Month rallies students together to celebrate the remembrance and progression of black Americans.
Black History Month began in 1915 when alumni from the University of Chicago traveled to Washington, D.C., in celebration of Illinois emancipation. Thousands of African Americans travelled across the nation to congregate together and in February, 1926, Negro History Week was released to the press.
Prentice Ashford, director of multicultural affairs, said the Office of Multicultural Affairs is having several events throughout the month in celebration.
“Black History Month is just one of those times where its set aside,” said Ashford. “We have this one month where we have the opportunity to hear about other people, to see the contributions and to hear about other people’s lives. We know we can get that during February.”
Events like the second annual Black History church service, a free movie screening of The Butler and the “Testify” production presented by Black Students’ Association will be presented throughout the month in celebration and appreciation of blacks in America.
Khamisie Green, senior music major from Odessa, said it is important to celebrate Black History Month because it celebrates and remembers past heroes that have helped shape the nation.
“The greatest way to promote diversity is with knowledge with intelligence,” said Green, BSA president. “Ignorance is the greatest enemy of diversity.”
As schools across the nation recognize black heroes like Fredrick Douglas and triumphs like the Civil Rights Movement, Ashford said Black History Month has not been as reinforced in schools as much as it should.
“We are taught that American history typically looks one way,” said Ashford. “We learn about the same people, the same contributions, the same things and we don’t get to see another culture and it influenced the shaping of America.”
Although several are led to believe Black History Month is only relatable to black students, Green said Black History Month is not just for blacks, but also for people of all races to celebrate and become educated in.
“Black History Month involves more than just black people,” said Green. “Its ignorant and asinine to think that black history only involves, or only should be attended by and learned by, black students, faculty and staff.”
Reciting Dr. Martin Luther King, J.r’s, “I Have A Dream” speech and reading the trials of Harriet Tubman does not suffice. Green said Black History Month is a time to reflect on were black Americans came from and serves as a reminder for the past, present and future.
“I think that every race, every culture should invest in going to the black history production, going to the Black History service or going to see The Butler,” said Green. “So, that they can get some tid-bit of information and knowledge in trying to understand a culture, that is one of the largest ethnic groups on this campus.”
The interfaith black church service was at 3 p.m. on Sunday in Chapel on the Hill, the movie screening will show on February 23 in Cullen Auditorium and the production will be at 7 p.m. on March 4 in the Paramount Theater.