Marquette hosts virtual events for Black History Month

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Photo by Zach Bukowski

The Center for Cultural Engagement has partnered with on-campus organizations.

The 45th annual Black History Month in the United States begins Monday, Feb. 1. Former President Gerald Ford first dedicated the entire month to recognize Black history, Black accomplishments and Black culture in February 1976. But that was an extension of what was first a week-long celebration.

Author, journalist, editor, historian, and sometimes named “the Father of Black History,” Dr. Carter G. Woodson, first began celebrating “Negro History Week” back in 1926. According to the NAACP website, Woodson believed that “Black history – which others have tried so diligently to erase – is a firm foundation for young Black Americans to build on in order to become productive citizens of our society.”

The theme for this year is Black families, specifically their representation, identity and diversity in American culture. Last year’s was about being Black and voting.

Marquette University’s Center for Cultural Engagement has partnered with several on-campus organizations, including the Black Student Council, to create several events for students to take part in over the month of February.

Breanna Flowers, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and President of the Black Student Council, said the planning for this upcoming month has been going on since November. The schedule is comprised of things like keynote speakers, talent showcases, open mic nights, film showings and much more.

Flowers said she hopes students will go into March and the rest of 2021 with a new perspective.

“There is going to be so much history, art and information expressed through these events,” Flowers said. “I hope students of all races can learn something new. This year also has such a local focus so it’s important to everyone.”

Bobby Seale, a co-founder of the Black Panther Party, will kick off the celebration with a virtual address on Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. His party was founded back in 1967 and originally aimed to protect Black people from things like police brutality. He will be talking about the party and its role in Black families across the country in combating racism.

There will also be some student-led discussions throughout the month about various issues including why Black history is not taught in schools on Feb. 9, and why policing in Black America continues to be an ongoing issue on Feb. 16. Both of these events will be held through zoom.

On Feb. 12, the Black Student Council is putting on a virtual art show at 7 p.m. It will showcase artwork from all local artists in the Marquette and Milwaukee communities.

On the following day, there will be a Black book show at 2 p.m. that students can take part in where they might even have the chance to win a free book or two. It will be taking place in the Alumni Memorial Union, and students can register for it online.

To wrap things up, the Black Student Council will be hosting their annual fashion show on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. This event will feature work from local designers and will incorporate themes that are tied to Black history.

These are just a few of the celebrations taking place. The full schedule of events can be found online.

Since the focus for Black History Month this year is families, Flowers also said that it’s important for people to remember where they came from when looking down the road.

“This month is a celebration of our culture and our ancestors,” Flowers said. “The inspiration we get for future generations is inspired through the path our people have taken to get where they are today.”

This story was written by Quinn Faeth. He can be reached at quinlan.faeth@marquette.edu.