Black History Month: Celebrating and honoring the Black community and culture

February is Black History Month. These 28 days are dedicated to celebrating and honoring the Black community and culture in America and around the world. West Liberty University is playing its part in marking the event and paying tribute to notable figures in Black history.
Black History Month originally began as a response to the lack of black history present in the American education system. The celebration, started by Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland in 1926, was initially just a week long, rather than the whole month of February, and was timed to encompass the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
The event was designed to, and continues to, bring the focus of attention to the influence and impact that black culture has had on society. “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” said Woodson in regards to the importance of studying black history.
Since its original conception in 1926, the designated slot for celebrating black history has expanded from a week to a month and has expanded in terms of impact as well. Education institutions, businesses, charity organizations, and public officials frequently show their support for the cause and spread the message of the importance of studying black history to millions of people in the United States and abroad.
West Liberty’s Diversity Committee is participating in the National African American Read-In event set up by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). According to the NCTE, “The National African American Read-In is a groundbreaking effort to encourage communities to read together, centering African American books and authors. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. This initiative has reached more than 6 million participants around the world.” This is the second year that WLU has participated in the event with more than a dozen people from the West Liberty community contributing in 2020.
Due to COVID-19 the Diversity Committee have elected to conduct the read-in in a virtual manner and have asked for students and faculty to get involved by submitting a video recording of themselves reading an excerpt from an African American writer that is meaningful to them. “The hopeful impact is to be able to put together a compilation of these recordings of African American authors… We want people to submit clips of emotional connections,” said from the Diversity Committee.
The deadline to submit footage is Feb. 19, so there is still plenty of time to get involved. Submissions should be entered through this link. The final compilation will be released on Topperstation on Feb. 25. For more information about the event or if you would like to be a part of the Diversity Committee’s future plans, email [email protected]