Since 1976, every U.S. president has acknowledged the month of February as Black History Month. The annual month long celebration continues to be a staple in the lives of many to this day, and APU aims to continue this celebration.
The Student Center for Reconciliation and Diversity (SCRD) has quite a few things planned for this month to honor the legacy of black America.
“The SCRD is currently displaying famous African Americans and their accomplishments to the United States,” SCRD Executive Director Aaron Hinojosa said.
The display can be found on Cougar Walk on the exterior wall of the Cougar Dome. Some of the hidden figures on display were people such as 1920s millionaire Annie Turnbo Malone and activist and business Benjamin Singleton. The display also features Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress in 1969 and Susie Taylor, who was the only African-American woman to have published a wartime memoir about the Civil War.
“I really enjoyed looking at and reading the display,” Senior Communications major David Booker said. “There were some interesting people that I didn’t know about.”
The initial goal of the display was to bring light to black figures who tend to be overlooked during this month.
The second recognition of Black History Month is through the SCRD’s Speaker Series, which brings speakers both connected to and outside of the APU community to talk about a specific topic each month. The topic for this month is “Why are you Christian if you’re black?”
The goal is to have a discussion which looks deeper into the actual origins of Christianity and to see its history specifically through the context of African-American and colonial history.
“There’s a group of people who left the Christian faith or refrained from participating because why would we practice the religion of our oppressors?” Sophomore Biology major DJ Mosley said.
This series will shed light on how people have used Christianity as justification to do evil, through historical and geographical means.
Mosley hopes the series will tackle questions such as, “Is Christianity the white man’s religion?” She states this concern because Ethiopia was one of the first Christian communities in an African country, which white settlers did not colonize. Some people even used Biblical passages to enforce slavery. These factors and others raise the question which is the focus of the first installment of the speaker series.
The third idea that SCRD wishes to execute is an extensive research on APU’s black history of APU. The goal is to find the first black students and faculty/staff of APU and honor them. These people may range from the first black science teacher, the first black chapel speaker, black athlete or even black chef at APU.
SCRD also intends on partnering with the Back Student Association (BSA) in their efforts. The SCRD programming staff will be posting events weekly.
“The message that our office will always convey is that African American History is this nation’s history,” Hinojosa said. “This country was built on accomplishment of both slave and free African Americans. One month will never do justice to the narrative of Black History.”
Between the speaker series about Christianity and slavery, the board on Cougar Dome featuring biographies of prominent black figures and the search for APU’s black history, SCRD has made it a priority to acknowledge and celebrate this month.
The first speaker series is scheduled on February 27 from 1:30-3 p.m. For more information, visit the SCRD office located across from the Clause office.