Morristown, N.J. (March 4, 2016) – February 2016 was a month packed with activities that were designed to educate, celebrate, and recognize the accomplishments of the Black community throughout the United States. Just about every day in the calendar had an event to bring Black History Month to the fore at the College.
The historical significance of the month is in the founder, Carter G. Woodson's reason for selecting February for this national celebration. Originally titled Negro History Week in 1924, Woodson selected the date based on the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. The week-long celebration was officially converted to Black History Month during the country's bicentennial in 1976.
On campus, many events were offered from entertaining to insightful. Naima Ricks, director of student engagement said, "We had between 40 and 100 people at most of the events and they have asked for a similar month of programming next year."
The most popular event in terms of attendance was the Soul Fest, in which more than 100 students attended. The post-event surveys completed by the students had comments such as, "When we understand and uplift all cultures, everyone wins!"; "There is still much work to do at CSE, but programs like this help increase our commitment to diversity and inclusiveness."; "Amazing event!"; "I learned about what being Black means."; and "Love has no color.".
Other programs that were quite popular were the #BlackLivesMatter Coffee House, The Anatomy of the "N" word workshop, and the Black Faculty and Staff Student Luncheon. In these events, students noted on their feedback forms that they felt a sense of unity, cohesiveness, and greater community within the Black community on campus as well as with the wider college community.
"Everyone came together, from planning to creating and holding the events," said Ricks. "Faculty, staff, and students of all backgrounds participated in making this a success month of unification, information, and empowerment."