Black History Month celebrated in February
Ali Fernand – Features Editor
The entire month of February is dedicated to black individuals and historical figures. According to National Geographic, Black History Month was established in 1976 to celebrate the heritage, accomplishments, and the continued work of Black Americans.
“Black History Month is important because it brings awareness to my community and the struggles we went through to become acknowledged the way we are today,” health science major Jordan Lanier, a junior said.
National Geographic states that this celebration was originally just a weeklong celebration. This was chosen to occur during Frederick Douglass and Former President Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. They were both leading figures in the abolition of slavery in the United States. Though when President Gerald Ford made it a month-long celebration 53 years ago, it grew into encompassing more of the black experience.
“Being black is something very special to me, the struggles my community went through in the past has brought my community closer together,” Lanier said.
Black History Month has become a time where black communities can rejoice in their common experiences. This does not just include struggle, but also joy, culture and celebration of their identities.
SCSU prides itself as being a social justice school. According to the university’s website, this means that they are dedicated to being an anti-racist institution. This is meant to help students of marginalized identities. A month-long celebration like Black History Month gives the school an opportunity to show its black students appreciation.
“They dedicate a wall to black history month in every building,” Interdisciplinary Studies major Nigel Paul, a junior said.
Displays like this show Back students their value to the university. There are different teams and organizations dedicated to students of all identities around campus. Black organizations are just one of these categories. Some of these organizations include the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Multicultural Center, Black Student Union, and the Caribbean Student Association.
“They do a great job recognizing our beautiful black communities on campus, makes me feel all welcomed inside,” Paul said.
The university has a lot of opportunities for Black students. However, when it comes to allyship, there is always more that can be done for black communities. More education, celebration and recognition are something that black students find valuable.
“While I do see posts on social media about it and some small events, I think we can do better at getting the black community and even other communities involved and inform people more about what this holiday really means to us and why it is so important,” Lanier said.
Despite the struggle the black community has gone through, they often find comfort in joy. Black Americans find pride in many aspects of their culture and experience. It has become something to love for many, making Black History Month a time where many can reflect on what they love about being black.
“Our music, our way of dressing, and many more other factors make me love being black,” Lanier said.
In America, black Americans have created genres and styles that have become important to pop culture. Music and clothes are just some of the many things that black individuals have contributed to our everyday lives.
As Black History Month ends this week, black students will continue to exist on campus. These experiences do not end in February, neither does the celebration of black history and experiences.
“I could give you a masters-level dissertation on why I love being black,” Paul said. “No matter what struggles we go through, we continue to be vibrant and joyful people.”