SUNY Cortland will celebrate Black History Month (BHM) throughout February with a series of events including lectures, sandwich seminars, musical performances, diverse cuisines and the annual reception in celebration of diversity.
Highlights will include:
• The Unity Celebration Reception on Wednesday, April 13, in Brockway Hall, Jacobus Lounge. Rescheduled from Feb. 1 due to the weather, this hors d’oeuvres reception takes place from 5-6:30 p.m. To attend, R.S.V.P. to Ann Cutler at (607) 753-2336.
• A presentation by Noelle Chaddock Paley, director of the College’s Multicultural Life Office and a faculty member of the Africana Studies Department. She will outline a new direction for programming in her area on Thursday, Feb. 17. Her talk, titled “Re-imagining Multicultural Life and Diversity at SUNY Cortland” begins at noon in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
• The annual Cultural Celebration at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27, in Old Main Brown Auditorium. The event will feature performances by the SUNY Cortland Gospel Choir and guest choirs and by the A Capella singers.
• A visit by Horace Campbell, a Syracuse University professor of African American studies and political science who directs the university's Africa Initiative. He will discuss "Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics: Revolution and Counter Revolution in the U.S." at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28, in the Corey Union Fireplace Lounge.
“Black History Month is a time to take stock, reflect, and honor the culture, history and achievements of African Americans,” said Seth Asumah, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and chair of the Africana Studies Department. “Yet the celebration should not be restricted to one’s racial or cultural background. It is an American celebration. It is impossible to separate black history from American history as a whole, so it must be celebrated by all Americans.
In the U.S., Black History Month commenced in 1926 when its founder, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, and other African American and white scholars realized the lack of studies and documentation about black history and the apparent disrespect for black culture. Previously called Negro History Week, the commemorative period was renamed Black History Week in 1972 and Black History Month in 1976.
“Black History Month should not be treated as a cross borne by Black people every day, rather it should be utilized as a bridge to cross over to new heights and to understand some of the turbulent socio-political issues in the American polity,” Asumah said.
The Africana Studies Department has organized BHM events for the College since the late 1970s. For the last 10 years, the Multicultural Life Office, Black Student Union, Women of Color, Man of Value and Excellence, and Caribbean Student Association have collaborated with Africana Studies to organize the campus BHM events.
Black History Month event sponsors include the Affirmative Action Committee, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs’ Office, President’s Office, Dean of Arts and Sciences Office, Vice President for Student Affairs’ Office, Multicultural Life Office, Black Student Union, Political Science Department, Political Science Association, Campus Artist and Lecture Series, the Africana Studies Department, Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies, Committee on the Status of Women in Education, Multicultural Council and Student Government Association.
For more information about Black History Month, contact Asumah at (607) 753-2064, or in Old Main, Room 208-B.