A month of pride and celebration during Black History Month

Hannah Nelson, Entertainment Editor

Throughout the month of February students and faculty will be coming together to celebrate culture and remember those who made history.

“Without Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and all those that we haven’t heard of, all of us would not be able to go to this institution together and have those experiences that we have had these past years and the ones coming,” Kayla Washington, Black Student Union president said.

Black History Month first started as a week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson for schools to learn about African-American history. In the late 70s in then evolved into a celebration throughout February. This month was decided based on the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

“What they wanted to do was encourage government facilities, libraries, schools, to teach about black history. I read somewhere that if you do not know about a person’s history or culture than that person is almost nonexistent,” Chief of Diversity and Inclusion, Angela D Allen said. “When we think about Black History, I can’t even tell you how many things that are around right now today that wouldn’t be here if it was not for African Americans.”

For many students, this month is a special time to embrace their culture. Advertising and public relations major Agol Aloak will be attending as many Black History Month events as she can. She believes that this is a unique month where she can have fun and show love for her culture.

“I am just going to be who I am without being nervous…I am just going to be me and not have to be nervous about standing out,” Aloak said.

Growing up, Aloak has special memories tied to celebrating Black History Month when her family first came to America. The elementary school she attended in Amarillo celebrated the month by each class representing a theme. Her class and teacher specifically chose Sudan since Aloak was from there.

“Our wall was all South Sudanese, the door was South Sudanese flags, we had African food, we had traditional dancing and music for a whole month. We learned about my country and the wonders of it…I will always remember that,” Aloak said. “Me being so young and being able to feel like I was so welcomed and so included at that time made me want to carry that on.”

A variety of events will be taking place across campus throughout the month. One event called Polished Image will feature Jacky Clark-Chrisholm from the Grammy award winning gospel group “The Clark Sisters”.

“She has a book called ‘Polished Image’ and the Black Student Union has teamed up with Career Services and Happy State Bank and a couple of other people to bring her here to talk to our students about having a polished image,”Allen said.

Another event happening during the month will be a special screening of the movie “Black Panther” hosted by the Gender Studies program.  After the movie there will be a panel discussion that will talk about different aspects of the movie including culture, costuming and the comic book.

“There’s going to be a panel discussion after the showing of the film and we’re going to talk about the comic book aspect of Marvel. We’re going to talk about the costuming and the dress and then we’re going to talk about the culture in the film all the different types of ways that culture was covered in the film,” Allen said.

Allen is excited for all of the upcoming events happening in February. She believes that these Black History Month events give students the ability to learn more about the history and the stories of people that you don’t necessarily learn about.  

“I am excited about all of them, let me tell you something, anytime we have something on campus that celebrates somebody’s heritage, or culture or whatever I am excited about it,” Allen said.

The month will wrap up with one of the last events, a banquet at Legacy Hall. The banquet will feature music, food, and a special guest speaker. For more information about the banquet or other upcoming Black History Month events contact the Office for Diversity and Inclusion or the Black Student Union.