Bulletin News


SUNY Cortland will celebrate Black History Month (BHM) throughout February with a series of events including lectures, sandwich seminars, films, musical performances and the annual reception in celebration of diversity.

BHM campus events will be posted in The Bulletin events list and on the Campus Activities calendar.

“Black History Month is a time to honor the culture and history of African Americans, but the celebration should not be restricted because of race or background,” said Seth Asumah, Africana Studies Department. “Black history cannot be separate 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.

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.

“The reason to continue to celebrate Black History Month here at SUNY Cortland, a predominately white institution, is not to dictate the black experience to the campus, nor is it to glorify the spirit of negritude,” explains Asumah. “It is to bring the Cortland community together around themes, important developments, scholarly work and culture, and to provide life-affirming information that we as Americans can transcend our historical contradiction in order to reach future possibilities.

“The Black struggles are ongoing and within these struggles victors and victims have emerged,” Asumah continued. “Inventors, consumers, martyrs, heroes and, even more recently, a president, have shaped the American national ethos. But, as Dr. Martin Luther King said about the history of a people and what the world would say about Black people, ‘there lived a people, a Black people… who had the moral courage to stand up for their rights. And thereby they injected a new meaning into the veins of history and civilization.’”

For more information about Black History Month, contact Asumah at (607) 753-2064, or in Old Main, Room 208B.