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Black History to be remembered in February and beyond

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February is Black History Month and there will be various events to celebrate the month on the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus.

The month was declared to annually commemorate important members of the black community and their specific contributions to the progress of the quality of life for black people in America.

The Diversity Resource Center plans to teach students about black history through a speech series called “Re-thinking Diversity,” which will be held every Wednesday in February. The series features professors from CSU-Pueblo discussing black history within their fields of study.

LaNeeca Williams, director of the Diversity Resource Center, encourages students to join in the celebration by attending the series.

“Black History is American History,” Williams said. “All students should participate.”

Williams also said students are welcomed to sit in on her class, Women’s Studies 291 African-American Women, which is held on Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Diversity Resource Center.

The Black Student Organization of CSU-Pueblo plans to celebrate black history with a dinner called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”

This year, the dinner will focus on African-American inventors. Student members of the organization choose a black inventor and research their life before the dinner. At the dinner, the students will act as the inventors may have throughout the night, according to Kristiyna James, vice president of the BSO.

James said she believes students of all backgrounds should attend the dinner as an opportunity to learn about important black inventors in American history.

“We don’t discriminate,” James said. “As Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘You should not be judged by the color of your skin, but by the content of your character.’ Everyone is welcomed.”

James said the dinner will be held in March as a way to send the message that black history should be recognized throughout the year, rather than for one month of the year. She also said students should take the initiative to learn about black history on their own.

“I’d encourage students to research anything (about black history) that interests them,” James said.

The dinner will be open to students, staff and faculty. The BSO has yet to announce the date of the event.

In 1925, Carter G. Woodson, an African-American historian, made and announced “Negro History Week,” which was to be celebrated during a week in February. Woodson chose February because it encompassed both the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, and Frederick Douglass, a famous abolitionist.

The week was celebrated for the first time in 1926.

Blacks and progressive whites endorsed the celebration. By the 1950s, some cities had begun celebrating the week. The civil rights movement of the 1960s also put an emphasis on the importance of black history in American culture.

The celebration was expanded to a month, renamed Black History Month, and became nationally recognized in 1976 by President Gerald T. Ford.

That year, 50 years after the initial celebration, Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,” according to an article on the Library of Congress: African American History Month Web site.

Below is a list of Black History Month events by date:

Wednesday, Feb. 3- “Re-thinking Diversity” series. Dr. Moussa Diawara, biology professor, “Contributions of African Americans.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 5- Gospel Explosion, Hoag Recital Hall. Hosted by the BSO, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 6- Pueblo African American Concern Organization (PAACO). “A Tribute to Motown” Annual Dinner and Dance, Occhiato University Center, for tickets call 719-545-4000, 5:30-11 p.m.

Wednesday Feb. 10- “Re-thinking Diversity” series. Lana Brumfield, music professor, “History of the Mardi Gras.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Wednesday Feb. 10-Distiguished Speaker Series. Danny Glover, “An Evening with Martin and Langston.” Hoag Recital Hall. 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 16- President Joseph Garcia, “What’s Black, Who’s Black, and Who Decides.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 17- “Re-thinking Diversity” series. Jennifer Peters, music professor, “Underground Railroad, ‘Coded Spirituals.’” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Wednesday Feb. 17-Distiguished Speaker Series. Nontombi Naomi Tutu, “Truth and Reconciliation: Healing the Wounds of Racism.” Hoag Recital Hall. 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 22- LaNeeca Williams, “21st Century Discrimination: Micro-Inequities.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 12 to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 24- “Re-thinking Diversity” series. Jacqueline Stroud, history professor. “Miners, Military, Mercantile and More: Afro-Latino Culture in Latin America.” Diversity Resource Center. Lunch provided, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.