Black History Month is here, yet outside of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, there have been few mentions of this important annual celebration. Sadly, it is overshadowed at ACU by a bigger February event: Sing Song.
A group of historians created Negro History Week in 1926. In 1976, President Gerald Ford extended the celebration to what is known today as Black History Month.
Ford said the country needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
However, for most students, February means Sing Song – a time when most are preparing their acts as they lose sleep, try not to fall behind in class or contract the flu.
For OMA and the Black Students Union, February is the month to celebrate and engage with others on black history and culture.
BSU is having a month-long fast with the goal of unlocking the power of God within them. The union is also posting daily devotionals to inspire and guide people during their fast.
“Doing this fast, I hope that it’s going to free us to really be ourselves and really dig deep and dig into our blood and pull out all of the good.” said Jasmine Green, senior worship major from Dallas and BSU president.
OMA is hosting weekly movie nights, a game show with SGA and ending the month with a blackout dance. OMA has its hands full trying to celebrate Black History Month and other planned events but can only do so much to bring students together.
The university outside of OMA needs to do more to highlight the importance of Black History Month.
Sing Song was founded in 1957 and has been around for more than 60 years. It’s a wonderful, amusing event that highlights the university’s history and culture. However, it is not the most important thing for the ACU community to be talking about this month.
Certainly, Sing Song attracts alumni who bring money to the university, but that’s no excuse for shining more light on a two-day production than on Black History Month.
It’s not OMA’s job to be the only voice on campus screaming to acknowledge the cultures and backgrounds of students. The university has a bigger task at hand than acknowledging Black History Month – it should work with OMA and celebrate Black History Month, but it shouldn’t stop there.
Celebrating Black History Month is important. It’s a chance to learn about the history and culture of our brothers and sisters. It’s a chance to learn and ask questions about the impact the African-American community has made on history. It’s a chance to get past the ignorance and stereotypes that are built into this country.
Black History Month is not just for people of color; it’s for everyone.
“Blackness is not something that just subsides in its own thing,” said April Napier, director of OMA. “Blackness is a part of what America is. If you overshadow that and don’t recognize how that part is a part of everyone’s history, then you’re not recognizing your own history.
Whether you identify as black or not, it’s still a part of who you are, because blackness is what made America what it is today.”
Black history does not begin and end in February, like our university tradition of Sing Song. Black History Month should not be the only time black history and culture is acknowledged, but it is a good start.