Images courtesy of LIFE Magazine / Roux Library
Black History Month was nationally established in 1976, following decades of activism. The collage, above, features images from 1963 issues of LIFE magazine detailing the March on Washington, covering the Birmingham campaign, and profiling James Baldwin.

Peter Edgar

Following Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Multicultural Student Council began making plans for February, which celebrates Black History Month. 

The MSC’s approach to BHM is two-fold: it will hold large-scale events with guest performers and food as well as meetings at the Simmons Center for Multicultural Appreciation aimed to start group discussions. 

“The mission is to provide students with an opportunity to learn about cultures that are here on campus as well as in the community,” MSC President and senior chemistry major Chaunté Shim said. “We just want to give them (students)—make them more culturally aware.… not saying that ‘you’re from here’ or ‘you’re from there’ but ‘we’re all together, creating this environment that we can succeed in.’”

Kicking off the Black History Month series will be the Wall of Oppression event on Feb. 3. At the Simmons Center, attendees will externalize and discard their oppression by tying writing it out and tying it to a gate. On Feb. 7, there will be a ceremony to literally dismantle the gate while symbolically dismantling the oppression with it. 

The Monday following, Feb. 10, the Jonathan Baptiste Trio will be returning to FSC at the Fannin Center for the third year in a row to perform a jazz set.

In a change of pace, the Feb. 13 general body meeting will directly engage attendees at the Simmons Center by asking them to consider “the countless accomplishments of African Americans throughout history,” according to a graphic given to the Southern

“Any MSC event always has the opportunity not just to educate, but to engage,” Outler said.

On February 26, the dance team Taken By Surprise, which has won national competitions in the rhythmic, percussive dance style called Step, will be performing in the Thrift Alumni room. 

The final event of February will be a general body meeting the day after Taken By Surprise performs, on Feb. 27 at the Simmons Center. The discussion will involve FSC faculty as well as attending students and center on themes of empowerment and encouragement. 

Why should students attend these events, according to Lewis? 

“Well, it’s our age-old story, so we can learn about each other,” she said, “for the dialogue.”


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