Established in 1926 as a week-long festivity coinciding with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, the annual event transformed in the 1960s to a month-long celebration of African American culture and history. Today, Black History Month is celebrated in February on many college and university campuses nationwide.
Southern Utah University embraces the tradition of celebrating Black History Month. From February 2 through February 28, films, performances, activities and panel discussions will be offered on campus to honor historic leaders of the black community, create awareness of other minorities and look forward to a brighter, more inclusive future. Events are open to the public.
Sunny Sims, activities coordinator for the Black Student Union (BSU), shared why this month is important to her. “This is a time to celebrate my culture and acknowledge what my ancestors have done for me,” she said. “If it wasn’t for them, I would not be a student here at SUU.”
Sunny adds that the celebration represents more than what its name implies. “Black movements aren’t just for black people. They’re for everyone, everywhere, helping to encourage equality for all people across all borders.”
Along with an inspiring lineup of presentations and films, the annual “Step Show” will take place Friday, February 24, 7 p.m., in the SUU Auditorium. The show includes dancing, singing, the spoken word, and gospel music from the SUU Women’s Choir. Presale tickets are $3 at the Centrum Ticket Office, (435) 586-77872, or $5 at the door. “Step Show” is a family friendly event. Children age 5 and under are free.
Talia Strong, Director of the SUU Center for Inclusion and Equity, shared why SUU is committed to the annual celebration. “Black History Month is an opportunity to bring to light stories and contributions of many civil rights stories that are often absent in the broader American historical narrative,” she said. “It also brings the community together to learn about heritage, interests and talents."
This year’s Black History Month events are made possible by the Community Engagement Center, SUU Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Black Student Union, Department of History, Sociology and Anthropology and the College of Humanities and Social Science. For more information, contact Earl Mulderink, director of the Community Engagement Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (435) 865-8341.
SUU’s Black History Month celebration activities and events:
Thursday, February 2 - Film Screening
“Separate and Unequal,” 7 p.m, Emma Eccles Jones Education Building (ED) 104.
Tuesday, February 7 - Express Yourself
BSU activity, noon, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Sharwan Smith Student Center (SC) 101.
Tuesday, February 7 - “Okay, Ladies, Now Let’s Get in Formation’: The Theme Song of Black Women in Academia.”
Presented by Christina Duncan, from Dixie State University, 7 p.m, ED 104.
Wednesday, February 8 - Jammin’ Waffle House
BSU activity, 7 p.m., Starlight Room, SC.
Thursday, February 9 - Film Screening
“Little Rock Central,” 7 p.m, ED 104.
Tuesday, February 14 - Film Screening
“Akeelah and the Bee,” 7 p.m, ED 104.
Wednesday, February 15 - Civil Rights Scavenger Hunt
BSU members will dress as civil rights leaders during the day. Students are encouraged to take pictures with those they see on campus.
Thursday, February 16 - “A Dream Deferred: Still Confronted with the Colorine Over Sixty Years after Brown.”
Presented by Dr. Karen Johnson, University of Utah professor, 7 p.m, ED 104.
Thursday, February 21 - The Crisis in Black Education
Panel presentation by members of the Black Student Union, 7 p.m, ED 104.
Thursday, February 23 - “Finishing the Business of Civil rights: Black Athletes in the Age of Social Unrest”
Presented by Dr. Darron Smith, University of Memphis professor, 7 p.m., Sterling Church Auditorium, SC.
Tuesday, February 28 - Film Screening
“The Great Debaters,” 7 p.m, ED 104.