Black History Month, also known as National AfricanAmerican History Month, grew from a need to acknowledge and celebrate the significant role that AfricanAmericans play in United States History. Black History began as just a weeklong celebration in the early 1900s sponsored by an association known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). This initial event inspired other institutions to host local celebrations.
According to History.com, “President Gerald R. 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 holiday grew to national acclaim and is now celebrated all across the United States as well as other countries like Canada and the United Kingdom.
On the Brooklyn College campus, Black history is being celebrated this month in the form of a student showcase put on by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Black and Latino Male initiative. This Thursday, the 18th, at 6 p.m. in the Student Center, the two groups will collaborate on a showcase that will continue the tradition of
Black History Month by celebrating and paying homage to the achievements of African-Americans all throughout history.
The showcase will feature performances from the Brooklyn College Slam Team, Supreme Steppers, Blaze Dance Team, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, inc. and Nu Omega Chi Fraternity, inc.
There will also be an open mic for those who RSVP before hand. Shadiq Williams, president of NAACP and Student Ambassador for the Black Male Initiative
at Brooklyn College said it is important to carry on the tradition. “However, I do agree that we should celebrate ourselves and our history all year long. One month just doesn’t do our history any justice once you start learning how much you never learned,” he said.
There is a wide range of cultures and heritage represented in the diverse students who attend Brooklyn College yet there are some students who feel that Black History in particular isn’t celebrated enough on campus.
“I feel like the representation of black history on campus depends on the teachers you have and who you surround yourself with,” said Trace Howard Depass, a freshman at the college. “So, I guess you can say that one would have to seek out black history, even in February, even in higher education,” he continued.
Groups like the Black and Latino Male Initiative and the NAACP at Brooklyn College work to ensure that Black History is truly represented on campus by holding weekly workshops in room 3309 James Hall. In addition to the upcoming showcase, they will also be holding a HipHop conscious event on February 25th where a discussion on the role of HipHop in politics will take place.
“The best way to encapsulate the significance of this program is it has presented me and people I have grown to know and love with opportunities and resources that would not have been so easily accessible otherwise,” said Williams.
To these students and many others Black History is an important part of their identity and should be acknowledged and celebrated this month and every month.