February is not only the month for lovebirds to indulge in romance — it’s also Black History Month.
NMSU Black Programs will be holding events throughout the month of February relating to American black culture.
Black History Month is meant to expose all people to teachings and history that many people don’t think about. NMSU freshman Lenasia Street emphasized the educational value of Black History Month. “There’s a lot of things that people still don’t know about, including myself. There’s key things that we should know as black people in general,” Street said.
NMSU junior Caleb Davis has been a supporting member of Black Programs for a couple of years and indicated this month is important because of the way black history is glossed over within the education system. “If you go through basically any history book our (African-American) timeline is slavery, Martin Luther King, freedom rights, ending segregation. That’s all that it says,” Davis said. “It doesn’t talk about the science developments we’ve had in our community; it doesn’t talk about the fashion or all the other different cultures and aspects we bring to the table.”
Dr. Patrick Turner, head of Black Programs at NMSU, also expressed dissatisfaction with the way not only black history, but other cultural and ethnic history is presented in schools. “History that is taught in the school district is always a watered-down version. It is always what is palpable to your audience so they don’t really get the history of different cultures,” Turner said. “You may get one little chapter about African-Americans and it’s always about slavery.”
Turner indicated that when culturally diverse history is taught in the classroom it is obscure and “tunnel-vision like” in a negative way. According to Turner, when ethnically diverse cultures are exemplified through a specific and limited amount of history, it does a disservice to those communities today.
Black Programs will be hosting various events and activities beginning this Wednesday, Feb. 12, and continuing into the middle of March. Caleb Davis pointed out these events are aimed at all members of the campus community. “You don’t have to be of color to be within the community. You don’t have to be exclusively African-American only. We want to welcome (other cultures) into all the events that we have,” Davis said.
Turner plans to begin promoting Black Programs by hosting events throughout the semester rather than just confining them to the month of February. By doing this, Turner also indicated he hopes to spread more knowledge about black culture in general and not just focus on history.
On the list of Black History Month events at NMSU, various groups and guest speakers are scheduled to appear on campus to teach and discuss black music, dance, art, culture, health issues and more.
NMSU alumna Sarah Joyner, although her talk doesn’t appear on the official list of events, is scheduled to speak on cultural awareness and sensitivity Feb. 13 at Corbett Center. Joyner graduated from NMSU in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in social work and was crowned Miss Georgia 2019.