SU hosts Black History Month programming

SU hosts Black History Month programming

February is often regarded as the month of love and affection, but it serves an additional purpose: it is Black History Month. This February, students organized campuswide events dedicated to Black History Month.

Student Union has been a central part of the festivities with programming spanning the entire month. These included playing the movie, “Straight Outta Compton” in Pugh auditorium and hosting a special Black History Trivia Night at Shorty’s. 

Nia McIntosh, Festival Programmer for the Student Union, spearheaded planning for a number of events regarding moving forward with Black History programming.

“As a response to what occurred last year, at the start of my sophomore year, I initiated the first ever Black History Month planning committee which was comprised of departments, student leaders, clubs and other organizations,” McIntosh said. “I worked to get a calendar of events together so this year my peers and I would not feel the same dejection as we did in the previous year.”

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“Events were very popular and brought out a larger crowd than we regularly get,” she said., noting that that working together with the different organizations was a huge success. However, not all agree on the scope of diversity they saw in attendance.

“At these events, I typically see the same majority black students,” said Darius Williams, senior and student leader.

“I would love to see a larger turnout from particularly white, Greek students at these affairs, because these conversations are important. This is our history as Americans. I would love to see a more diverse crowd in general.” 

Several other students agreed that this Black History initiative is a tremendous step in the right direction, but requires more participation in order to be effective in honoring history.

The Black Professionals Forum was one such event that gave undergraduate students the opportunity to network and meet with black alumni who graduated from Wake Forest.

The proposal was well regarded, but the dismay over attendance was expressed by one attendee, Yvette White.

“Basically, the event was to give us the opportunity to network with these alumni who experienced a lot of the same stuff we’re experiencing. They give us feedback on how to navigate the professional world,” White said. “There weren’t a lot of students there, which is disappointing. Something we want to work on in the Black community is getting people to come out to events centered on Black Wake Forest. We need people to come and support the community since there aren’t a lot of us.”

She said those in the forum were a huge resource for the students that were present.

Other events returned a larger number of attendees and ultimately forged a more diverse group. The Black Lives Matter lecture at the Anna Julia Cooper Center hosted by Dr. Barbara Ransby compared the contemporary #BlackLivesMatter movement to the Black Power movement of the 1960s-80s.

“It talked about how the academic world needed professors to help with activism,” said freshman Alec Jessar. “It was also interesting when she said a lot of people criticize Black Lives Matter because of the seeming lack of leadership, but she retorted with classifying the movement as a new type of leadership in which everyone involved holds a great responsibility.”

Hundreds attended, representing a diverse crowd. The talk was apparently successful in the message it provided.

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