Why we should care about Black History Month

Black History Month has been a topic of great debate as this year’s celebrations quickly approach. Individuals appear to be of two minds when it comes to the celebration of Black History Month. Some say that Black history accounts for way too much of American history to be confined to just one month, while others view this month as an opportunity to focus and celebrate the long legacy of struggle and triumphs in the African-American history. Here are five reasons why everyone regardless of race, gender or age is should participate in Black History Month:

Multicultural Center Director E. Andre Thorn said, “Black history is not just for blacks, because black history is American history.”

America is definitely a melting pot of different cultures and ways of living. Despite the history of individuals having to fight for basic living standards in this country, the women’s and LGBT movements, for example, both credit the black struggle in paving the path for their own battles. UAA Black Student Union President Ashleigh Gaines said, “People should want to learn about black history month because African- Americans built this country. If you look back at the history, you see that the White House was built on the backs of slaves.”

The story behind Black History Month is actually interesting. The celebration of Black History Month dates back to the summer of 1915, when University of Chicago alumnus Carter Woodson traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in a national celebration of the 15th Amendment anniversary. Noting the overwhelming response to this national event, Woodson set the

ball in motion that began “Negro History Week,” which would later become Black History Month. Since 1976 every U.S. president has designated February “Black History Month.”

Black History Month offers an opportunity to not only reflect on the accomplishments of African-Americans, but people of color all on a global level — as well as any group of people that has been affected by black history. This includes women and members that identify with the LGBT community.

There are many events about black history that are both interesting and informative. All students can participate in them, and some are even free. Some of the events offered include:

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Viewing of “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross”: Although this event began yesterday, on Feb. 3, students still have time to catch most of this captivating movie series, followed by a discussion about the film. Other dates include Feb. 10, 17, 24 and March 3 in Rasmuson Hall Room 106 from 6-8 p.m.

National Coalition Building Institute Student Workshop: This will occur Feb. 8 from 9:55 a.m.-5:15 p.m. in Gorsuch Commons Room 107.

Valentine’s Dance: Black Student Union will host a Valentine’s dance Feb. 15 at the Student Union Cafeteria from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Guests must have valid UAA ID to attend.

The trials of Muhammad Ali: This event will take place Feb. 12 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in Rasmuson Hall.

“Our Stories” panel: The panel will be Feb. 13 from noon-1:30 p.m. in Consortium Library Room 307.

Film producer speech: Wil Haygood, associate producer of the movie “The Butler,” will visit Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. This is a free event.