GSU Celebrates Black History Month
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration, officially designated by every U.S. president since 1976. Celebrated every February, it is a time to intentionally acknowledge the contributions of Black Americans. It is also a time to recognize the central role of African Americans in U.S. history and society, and their resilience in the face of discrimination (History.com).
Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. As diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are an integral part of Governors State University’s (GSU) history and mission, celebrating Black History Month to the fullest is essential.
Throughout the month, the Akan principle of Sankofa, meaning “to retrieve,” is embraced. This principle is based on the belief that the past serves as a guide for planning the future. Black History Month is a reminder of the past, and a time to both pay tribute to the ancestors and assess the future.
The national theme for Black History Month 2023 is “Black Resistance.” This theme recognizes the historical and ongoing oppression Black Americans have faced and resisted in all forms. As the numerous achievements and contributions of African Americans are celebrated, the issues facing the Black family due to racial injustice, over-policing of communities, police brutality, economic inequality, health disparity, poor housing, high unemployment or underemployment, poorly performing schools, discrimination, and institutional racism cannot be ignored.
Every Black History Month, GSU highlights the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans through collaborations with our outstanding student organizations, faculty and staff, alums, and community members. The Center for Student Engagement and Intercultural Programs presents a comprehensive list of events for 2023 that combines virtual and in-person opportunities for the GSU community.
Also, take a moment to listen to GSU’s Teaching and Learning Podcast Series, “28 Voices of Black Excellence.”
Joi F. Patterson, Ph.D.
Chief Diversity Officer
Governors State University