Black History Month
From: Ed Twyman, Senior Diversity Officer
"If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated."
- Dr. Carter G. Woodson, "The Miseducation of the Negro"
It is with great pride that the University of Wisconsin-Parkside celebrates Black History Month as a fundamental way to understand who we are as a campus community. The origins of Black History Month are absolutely tied to the individual's quest and attainment of knowledge. In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the second African American to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard University, established Negro History Week.
Dr. Woodson realized that the history and notable accomplishments by people of African descent were ignored, omitted from or misrepresented in textbooks. Thus, he wanted to chronicle and celebrate the important achievements and contributions of blacks. In 1976, the week became a month, and today February is celebrated as Black History Month.
The national theme for Black History Month this year is "At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington." The theme, established each year by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, honors the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. These seminal events, 100 years apart, are only tied together in the hearts and minds of UW-Parkside if we take time to recognize their impact on our campus community and our mission.
As we reflect on the many contributions of African Americans to American history, let us remain committed to the proposition that a person of any race, creed, national origin, faith, etc., can contribute to the American ideals of inclusion, diversity, and equity.
I continue to be proud of the rich history of diversity and inclusion at UW-Parkside, and urge all of us to come together and celebrate Black History Month in an intentional way. Together, as one campus, we have a wonderful opportunity to reinvigorate our commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as deepen our personal understanding of their value in our current and future successes.
Many of you experienced Tejumola "Teju" Ologboni, a master storyteller and folklorist, brought to campus by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. His stories provided greater understanding of the profound influence of African heritage on our traditions and identities.
You may be interested to recall other noteworthy milestones occurring during February according to Elissa Haney in "The History of Black History":
- Feb. 3, 1870, the 15th Amendment is passed granting blacks the right to vote.
- W.E.B. Du Bois, the first African American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University, was born Feb. 23, 1868. Further, he was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
- Feb. 12, 1909, the NAACP was founded by white and black citizens in New York.
I invite our campus community to continue Dr. Woodson's work and celebrate the accomplishments African Americans in the United States ? not just in February, but throughout the year.