GW students will celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans this February during Black History Month. Activities planned by the Black Student Union and others will look back at the civil rights movement and educate how historical events shaped today’s multicultural society.
This year’s theme “Looking Back, Moving Forward,” centers on how past events influenced today’s racial conceptions.
Christina McGlean, director of operations and administrations for the Black Student Union, said Black History Month is designed to bring together people of “any type of ethnicity, while at the same time uniting the minority community.”
The Black Student Union began planning events in September. This month’s events are co-sponsored by the GW chapter of the NAACP, the Multicultural Center, historically black fraternities and sororities and several other organizations on campus.
The Multicultural Center co-sponsored several speakers, including motivational speaker and syndicated radio talk show host Tony Brown. Ernest Green, a member of the Little Rock Nine – the group of black students who integrated the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., spoke Wednesday night.
Green, who entered the school in 1957, became the first black graduate of the school a year later. Green served as Assistant Labor Secretary for Employment and Training in President Jimmy Carter’s administration and works as a managing director at the Lehman Brothers’ D.C. office.
McGlean said the speeches are intended to empower the black community. She said students are more receptive to Black History Month than they were in the past.
McGlean said student organizations have taken part in Black History Month since the 1960s.
“We want to allow everyone to appreciate what our ethnicity had to deal with in the past,” McGlean said.
The University kicked off Black History Month by awarding three students the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal the last week in January.
The Multicultural Intercollegiate Career Conference group will host “Flavors of the World” this Thursday, an event where people can taste delicacies of different countries.
Grace Henry, a counselor at the Multicultural Center, said Black History Month is not just a celebration for blacks.
“It is important for all students to realize that black Americans have contributed to our everyday life . for everyone to see that black history is American history as well,” Henry said.