Black history month

 Uncategorized
Jan 312005
 
Authors: Sara Crocker

Why February?

Carter G. Woodson originally picked the second week of February to celebrate "Negro History Week" because the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln are during that week.

February is also important to African Americans because:

Feb. 1, 1960: College students in Greensboro, N.C. began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter.

Feb. 3, 1870: The 15th Amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote, was passed.

Feb. 12, 1909: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded

February is Black History Month, which will give students a chance to recognize the contributions African Americans have made to society, not just as a race but as Americans.

"I think it's generally a good time to go and learn the history of America," said Hadeis Safi, a junior liberal arts major that works at Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services. "It's not just black history, it's the history of America."

This year Black Student Services and the students of Black Definition have planned a diverse calendar of events.

"The goal is really to have an inclusive event that shares information about the African American experience in America through different venues," said Tony Daniels, interim assistant director of Black Student Services.

Events planned for this year have led to involvement with other advocacy groups. Daniels said the events are tailored to appeal to a wider audience, but still maintain an African-American perspective.

El Centro Student Services have planned a discussion on the Chicano and Civil Rights Movements.

Guadalupe Salazar, director of El Centro, said they have collaborated with BSS this year because African-American culture is a part of all Americans.

The GLBTSS and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority have also joined with BSS to plan "On the Down Low," which will discuss the lives of African American men who maintain homosexual relationships while still identifying themselves as straight.

"It helps to show diversity and then show similarities," Safi said.

Daniels said his goal is to create an inclusive atmosphere, where all students feel welcome to attend.

In December Daniels worked with Will Wooten, president of Black Definition, and a variety of students to find out why they would not normally attend Black History Month events.

He said one student even said he did not participate because he was unsure if he would end up walking into a Black Panther meeting. Daniels said he hopes the events this month will dispel this kind of thought.

"In his mind he's thinking there's a large mass of African American students attending," Daniels said. He went on to note there are only about 400 African American students among the 25,000 students at CSU.

Daniels said his goal for this year's events would be for all students to walk away with a better knowledge and awareness of the contributions that African Americans have made. He said he also hoped that all students would feel comfortable at whatever events they attended.

Safi said he hoped that the more diverse programs would increase attendance.

"That's the hope, just to get more people to attend the events and support each other," Safi said.

He plans on attending as many of the events as he can.

Daniels said he expects about 100 people at each of the events throughout the month.

Traci Butler, a junior political science major, said she will be attending a lot of the events.

"It's just something I do yearly," Butler said.

Some students were unaware of the activities being planned this month.

Jonathan Reitz, senior wildlife biology major, said he has never attended any events for Black History Month, and that he did not know about any of the plans for this month on campus. However, he said he would probably attend an event.

"I think that'd be cool if there were more reminders or education of that history for everybody," Reitz said.

Black History Month originated as "Negro History Week" in 1926. Carter G. Woodson founded this holiday to educate Americans about the contributions African Americans had made, which was mostly ignored in history books at the time, according to a calendar of Black History Month events by BSS.

Events begin tonight, with "Hip Hop vs. R&B" Ole School or New School at 6 p.m. in the art lounge of the Lory Student Center. All are welcome to attend.

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