Campus Life

Black History Month

February, Black History Month, will be a little different this year for the Grace campus. The recently established Black Student Association (BSA) will hold at least three events this month in order to celebrate and honor their heritage.

Black History Month has grown out of Negro History Week, a celebration that historian Carter G. Woodson and other African Americans first thought up in 1926. This national celebration was sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, an organization dedicated to researching and promoting black American achievements. This event was created in order to encourage schools and communities to celebrate the African Americans and their culture.

Beginning in 1976, every U.S. president has declared February Black History Month, encouraging a specific theme each year. The 2012 theme recognizes black women and how they have contributed to shaping the United States and its history.

One notable woman from history is Harriet Tubman. Tubman was a conductor on the Underground Railroad during the 1850s. Born a slave in Maryland, Tubman fled slavery in 1849. In the following years, she returned to the South at least 19 times, leading family and hundreds of other slaves to their freedom.

Tubman also served as a scout, spy and nurse during the Civil War. Tubman, after the emancipation of the slaves, appeared at different conferences and spoke about her experiences

Another black woman, Rosa Parks, is known as “the mother of the freedom movement” and a first lady of civil rights.”

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Ala., Parks refused to follow the order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her refusal was not the first of its kind, but it sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Parks collaborated and organized with other civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and helped launch him to national prominence.

Rosa Parks took her action as a private citizen, “tired of giving in.”

Students on campus are invited to hear more about African American history and culture over the next few weeks.

On Thursday, February 9, at 7:30 p.m., the movie “Pride” will be showing in McClain auditorium. This is a fundraiser for the BSA and admission is $1.

Also, on Thursday, February 16, from 9-10:30 p.m., “The Colored Progression Experience” will be held in McClain. This event is free, and the members of the BSA invite students to experience a history fair of African Americans. The “Progression” will begin during the time of segregation and end with current events, featuring people like Barack Obama. One of the goals of the “Progression” is to educate students about uncommon blacks in history. Refreshments will be provided.

A third event from the BSA is planned for 1-3 p.m. on March 3. This will be a “Taste of Home,” where students can sample home-style southern food. This “soul food” represents a large part of the African American culture.

The BSA leadership, Brittany Nelson, LJ Anthony, Dominique Jackson, and Rodney Kelly, are hoping that these events will bring a greater cultural awareness to Grace’s campus. These events are meant to share a day in the life of a different culture, how they “get down,” according to Jackson and Anthony.

The Black Student Association will be hanging posters before the events, so keep an eye out for more information. The BSA is open to any student who supports the BSA purpose of bringing cultural awareness to the Grace College community. For more information or questions, please contact Brittany Nelson.

Story by Rachel J. Miner | Staff Writer | minerrj@grace.edu

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