MNSU to celebrate their contributions and the ways they changed history
Black History Month, also known as African American History month in America, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
“Today, we celebrate black history month, which is an annual celebration that grew out of ‘Negro History Week,’ the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans,” said Kenneth Reid, director of African American Affairs. “It is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in the history of United States.”
Black History Month goes back to 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery in the United States. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.
President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
The theme for this year’s Black History Month is “African Americans in times of war.” This month marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and will honor the roles that black Americans have played in warfare, from the American Revolution to present day.
MNSU will celebrate Black History Month with events and activities throughout February for students, faculty and the public. The events will focus on the theme “Believe-Achieve-Succeed.” Events include a student panel and discussion; an open kitchen, called Touch of Soul Food; a diversity career and internship fair; an open mic night, called “Express Yourself”; the Pan African Conference and many other events.
“Every week of this month, we will recognize the works, efforts, and legacies of African Americans, however, we recognize that black excellence is 365 days a year,” said Reid. “The legacy black people have left throughout American history has failed to be acknowledged, celebrated and rewarded. So, it is something that we should not be taking for granted, but instead educate ourselves every day on the great things it [has] brought. It boosted the economy, caused the United States to be as successful as it has been, and it is only because of phenomenal black ancestors that we had.”
The point of these types of commemorations is to remind not just MNSU students but also everybody in the world about the impact black ancestors had on this country.
“I would encourage our students to do is not just to celebrate it during the month of February, but celebrate it year-round,” said Reid.
Black History Month will conclude at the end of the month with a film screening of the movie “Marshall,” which is based on the first African American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall.