Sac State students remember Black History Month

Ruth Williams

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, and many more: The month of February dedicates 28 days to celebrate the accomplishments and legacies of these distinguished African Americans.

The reports Black History Month originated with Dr. Carter Woodson who deemed the second week in February as Negro History Week. The honorary week soon became a month.

February was chosen because Woodson saw fitting to recognize Fredrick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, historical civil rights activists, who’s birthdays are also in the month.

Many events have been planned on campus in honor of the month. Sacramento State acknowledges the significance of black history by hosting the Sacramento/Black Art of Dance 2015 in Solano Hall, screening “Dear White People” in the University Union, and performing “Twilight Los Angeles”- a theatre production about Rodney King- to name a few.

When asked what BHM meant to him, graduate student Damariye’ Smith said it’s a celebration of African-American culture.

“It signifies going back to our roots, embracing our culture, people and their struggles,” said Smith.

As a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Smith expressed the importance of not only blacks, but the university as a whole to celebrate black history. He said it would be a crime if we didn’t.

History major Nancy Lu also sees the significance of BHM. Lu, who is of Chinese descent, believes that one does not have to be African American to celebrate.

She believes the celebration is about moving towards a more equal society and anyone who wants to strive for this is welcome.

When asked who he felt made the greatest contribution to black history, senior, Mack Irvine said Dr. Martin Luther King when thinking about his peaceful endeavors and achievements.

“How hard is it to sit there and let people spit at you?” questioned Irvine.

Irvine believes it is important to realize the contributions African Americans have made for our country.

English student-teacher, Ambyr Gage, thinks Huey Newton and Bobby Seal, founders of the Black Panther Party, made the greatest contributions towards the advancement of blacks because they empowered blacks to do things on their own instead of “depending on whites”.

Gage noted the common first thing that usually comes to peoples minds when they think of black history is slavery.

“We would be ignored if we don’t celebrate [BHM], people don’t realize how many contributions blacks have rendered towards society,” said Gage.

Daniel Hale Williams performed the first open-heart surgery; Lewis Latimer created the carbon filament for the light bulb. We can thank George Washington Carver for the many uses for the peanut, and George Crum who created the potato chip. Dr. Charles Richard Drew discovered how to store blood which lead to the first blood bank, and Garrett Morgan invented the gas mask. The list of inspiring African-Americans is endless.