Since 1976, February has been known as Black History Month. President Gerald Ford officially recognized the month that year, growing from “Negro History Week,” that was started by Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland in 1915.
“Black history month is honoring what we’ve gone through and what we’ve achieved and it’s also looking forward to what we can do for the future, our present affects our future, so what we’re doing now at our events even though they’re just entertainment or this or that, it’s bringing about awareness, which is also giving a pathway to what can happen in the future,” said La’Sha Thomas, senior in psychology and president of the Black Student Association (BSA).
BSA hosts many events to celebrate the month. Monday, Feb. 4, they visited George Nettles Elementary School to talk about the importance of diversity.
“It means to me… just celebrating how far we’ve come and our accomplishments and just embracing our culture,” said Omarian Brantley, freshman in English education.
They led an activity with the students where they could draw a picture with only one color and then were able to draw another picture with as many colors as they wanted. They were then asked which picture they liked better, with a majority answer of the one with more colors. The activity opened the floor for discussion of diversity and accepting different skin colors.
“The idea actually wasn’t solely mine,” Brantley said. “My high school last year, Bonner Springs, my guidance counselor came up with the idea and I just brought it with me here I thought it was really good.”
As the month continues, the members will post different informational posters around campus and on social media. They will feature different influential inventors, psychologists, and philanthropists, from the black community. Some influential men and women include Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Boone, and John Albert Burr.
“We just like to put them up everywhere, so when you’re just walking to class you can read a little fact about something or you can see something that you maybe never knew before,” Thomas said.
BSA has been active on Pitt State’s campus for many years and hopes to partner with the African Student Association (ASA) more and put on more events that they can do together, to not only celebrate their similarities but their differences as well.
“We also plan on joining up with another association, African Student Association.” Thomas said. “We are similar organizations, but we are not completely the same. Though we may have our differences, we believe we may be able to work together, and we should work together. We are having a conversation on politics and myths and barriers because when you have differences things get misconstrued and things like that, so we feel like we should be able to bond more. We should be sister organizations, so that is also what we are doing.”
ASA has been on Pitt State’s campus since around 2009.
“This week, we have a fundraising this Friday, a food fundraiser for ASA… we are going to make… African food and African drinks,” said Rigo Brou, graduate student in information technology and president of ASA. “We are going to be doing that in the Oval from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.”
Members of ASA joined members of the BSA on Tuesday with some performances during their Gospel Explosion.
“Through the month we are going to do other things..” Brou said. “We hope to have a Zumba event at the (Rec Center)… We’re trying to do that… for Black History Month.”
ASA is currently working on starting a scholarship for students from Africa who want to attend Pitt State.
“There is diversity on our campus, but we want to reach out to those outside of our campus,” Thomas said. “It’s not just those here at Pitt State but it’s everywhere, so that’s why we are going down to the community. We’re here and we can all live as a blended family and we also want to reach out to those who may not know about us… That’s why we do so many events and try to post these posters and our event posters in different areas, to make people aware.”
Black History Month is celebrated the entire month of February and there will be a variety of events held on PSU’s campus to celebrate and honor African-Americans.