The year 2013 marks the anniversary of three important events in history: the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham that killed four young girls. The National Black History Month theme, “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality,” reflects these milestones.
In February, Black History Month is celebrated nationwide with programs and events that not only commemorate the past, but also honor the continuous progress that African Americans have made, according to Niya Blair, director of the Multicultural Center at Arkansas State University.
Black History Month originated in February 1926 when Carter G. Woodson, the father of black history, established Negro History Week. He and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) chose the second week of February because it encompasses the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, notable figures in the African American community. Instead of trying to create a new tradition, Woodson implored the public to extend their study of black history through Negro History Week. In the late 1970s, the week-long celebration was expanded to a month.
Arkansas State University celebrates Black History Month with a series of events and programs geared toward the past, present, and future success of African Americans, Blair added. The scheduled events are:
• The Black Student Association at ASU will host its annual BSA Week. Events include Black History Jeopardy in the Student Union Multicultural Center on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 5 p.m. Also, BSA’s All Black Affair will be held Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall. This is a semi-formal gala where students, faculty, and the community enjoy an evening of fine dining and music dressed in all black attire. For more information about BSA Week contact LaTasha Moore at Latasha.firstname.lastname@example.org.
• On Monday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. is National Pan-Hellenic Council Best Steppers. This is a step show where members of historically black Greek-letter organizations perform routines of step and dance for the title of “Best Steppers” on campus. The event will be held at the Nettleton Performing Arts Center. The cost is $5 with a canned good or $7 without. For details, more information please contact Alexis Hurdle at (870) 972-2055.
The Black History Month celebration concludes with the Multicultural Center’s annual Gospel Explosion on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall. This celebration pays homage to gospel music and the significance it played in history.
For a complete list of events during Black History Month please visit the Multicultural Center website, http://www.astate.edu/a/leadership-center/multicultural-center/ or call (870) 680-4052.