Black History Month - February 2015

How the Celebration Month Began...

At the beginning of the twentieth century, not one history textbook had any mention of the achievements or contributions of Black Americans. There was no citation on George Washington Carver (1864-1943), botanist and inventor. Although born into slavery, Carver was the first Black American to enter the Iowa State Agricultural College. He received a master’s degree in agriculture in 1896. In the textbooks, there was no citation crediting Carver for the 100 products he developed from peanuts that we are still using today.

Black History Month - Carter Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History”, began to notice the lack of information on America’s Black population in history books. To combat this, he founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926, he developed Negro History Week. Despite being the son of two former slaves, Dr. Woodson was able to complete a four-year high school curriculum in two years and went on to further his studies in higher education, eventually earning his PhD from Harvard University.

Woodson’s Negro History Week was the second week in February. This week was chosen because it marked the birthdays of two men in history who changed the lives of Black Americans: Frederick Douglass (February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12). Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an influential abolitionist and civil rights leader, and Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, signed the Emancipation Proclamation that abolished slavery in the United States. Woodson also dedicated his time to publishing books, magazines and newspapers to tell the stories of Black Americans and their achievements.

By 1960, Negro Week had developed into Black History Month. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized the month in 1976. Today, Black History Month is celebrated nationwide. This years’ national theme, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture” may be misleading. The African presence in the United States began almost simultaneously with permanent European settlement. In 1619, twenty Africans arrived in Jamestown as indentured servants. Black History Month brings to consciousness not only the struggles and challenges experienced by a people, but also recognizes and celebrates the achievements and contributions to the American society by a people.

How Important is History? Ponder These Quotes

“I have crossed over on the backs of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Madam C. J. Walker. Because of them I can now live the dream. I am the seed of the free, and I know it. I intend to bear great fruit.” Oprah Winfrey

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” Carter G. Woodson

"For Africa to me...is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place. Maya Angelou 

Black History Month Event Calendar

Who Am I? Black History Info Cards
Every Monday: February 2, 9, 16, and 23
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity will be distributing informational cards highlighting significant African-American civil rights leaders, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, scholars, poets and writers. Collect all 20!
Sponsored by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

Black History Month Cake Cutting
Monday, February 2
11 am to 12:30 pm, Setzer Student Center Arbor
Come kick off Black History Month with us! Grab a slice of cake and learn what other events are planned for the month. Drum Café sneak preview at 12:30 pm!
Sponsored by the Black History Month Planning Committee

Drum Café
Monday, February 2
6 pm, Setzer Center Ballroom

We’re celebrating diversity and community with this kickoff to Black History Month. Learn new drumming skills on traditional African djembe drums. Through the universal language of music, we’ll work in harmony. All attendees will receive a drum for the evening and will be taught the basics of drumming.
Sponsored by the LamarAlive! Student Activities Board

Civil Rights Memory Walk
Wednesday, February 11
5 pm, The Quad

Join the Black Student Association as we remember the civil rights movement through a series of stops along the walk. At each stop, a historical event will be recreated. The walk starts at the Quad in front of Mirabeau’s statue and continues around campus.
Sponsored by the Black Student Association

Movie Night: The Great Debaters
Monday, February 16
7 pm, Room 210, Setzer Student Center

In preparation for Dr. Thomas Freeman’s lecture on Tuesday, February 17, we're showing The Great Debaters.
Sponsored by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity

ExxonMobil Presents "Living Legends – An Evening with Dr. Thomas Franklin Freeman"
Tuesday, February 17
7 pm, University Theatre

Dr. Freeman, distinguished professor emeritus of Texas Southern University, is perhaps best-known for founding and coaching TSU’s highly acclaimed debate team, which has won hundreds of awards, traveled the globe and, during the period when Freeman and King became re-acquainted, helped desegregate college forensics. In 1947, while a visiting professor at Morehouse, he taught one of the nation's and the world's greatest orators and most inspiring leaders, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington sought Freeman as a consultant for the 2007 movie, The Great Debaters, based upon the triumphs of a Depression-era Wiley College debate team and its coach Melvin Tolson. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by ExxonMobil’s Black Employee Success Team (BEST)
Hosted by Lamar University

"I Am More Than My Color" Panel Discussion
Wednesday, February 18
7 pm, Landes Auditorium, Galloway Building

Local African-American men and women who have excelled professionally will share their triumphs and challenges. Panelists: Dr. Freddie Titus, Assistant Professor of Professional Pedagogy; Dr. Jennifer Butcher, Associate Professor of Doctoral Education; Mr. Robert Turner, President and Owner of JK Chevrolet; and Sharae N. Reed, Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Beaumont.
Sponsored by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority

Who Am I? – Our Hidden History
Thursday, February 19
7 pm, Setzer Student Center Ballroom

Ever wonder about how much we know about the history of African-Americans? A roving reporter, with cameraman at his side, has asked members of the Lamar community questions to test their knowledge of Black history. Come see the videotaped responses and learn some hidden historical facts
Sponsored by Residence Life Morris Hall Community Leaders, Marcus Anderson and Torrian Perry

A Night at the Museum – Portraits of Kings
Monday, February 24
7 pm, Setzer Student Center Ballroom

The members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, dressed as historical figures, will welcome visitors to A Night at the Museum – Portraits of Kings. As you walk through the ‘museum’, each historical figure will come to life and tell his story. After your tour, join the members of the African Student Association as they bring to life the poems and literature written by African-Americans.

Gordy BerryMotown Live!
Wednesday, February 25
7 pm, Setzer Student Center Ballroom

On January 12, 1959, Berry Gordy founded what was to become Motown with a loan of $800 from his family. The distinctive, upbeat, and uplifting music brought together pop and soul, white and black, old and young like never before. Motown, the birthplace of a sound that blended distinctively passionate singers, the call and response vocal arrangements of the African-American church tradition, pop music sensibilities, jazz virtuosity, and irresistible rhythms. Come out and relive the wonder and magic that was Motown – The Sound that Changed America. We'll transport you back in time, where the hit songs just kept on coming...Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Lionel Ritchie. Do you remember Soul Train? motownmuseum.org/story/motown
Sponsored by BSA (Black Student Association)

"The Big Six"

"The Big Six" is a term used to describe some of the prominent chairmen, presidents, and leaders of six of the civil rights organizations active during the height of the Civil Rights Movement who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

James Farmer: founder of the Congress of Racial Equality or CORE, a pacifist organization dedicated to achieving racial harmony and equality through nonviolence, and stayed active in the Civil Rights Movement through the 1950s and 1960s. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, shortly before his death in 1999.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the most famous leader of the Civil Rights Movement. King won the Nobel Peace Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom before his assassination in 1968. For his promotion of nonviolence and racial equality, King is considered a peacemaker and martyr by many people around the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States was established in his honor, and a Memorial to him stands on the nation's National Mall.

John Lewis: president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and participant in the Nashville Student Movement. Lewis represented SNCC with a speech at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington. Lewis has represented the 5th District of Georgia in the United States House of Representatives since 1987, a district which includes almost all of Atlanta.

A. Philip Randolph: organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first serious effort to form a labor union for the employees of the Pullman Company, which was a major employer of African Americans.

Roy Wilkins: executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and spokesperson for the civil rights movement. He participated in the March on Washington (1963), the Selma to Montgomery marches (1965), and the March Against Fear (1966).

Whitney Young: worked to end employment discrimination in the South and turning the National Urban League from a relatively passive civil rights organization into one that aggressively fought for justice.

Source: Wikipedia

Student Organizations

African Student Association -- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority -- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity -- Black Student Association -- Delta Sigma Theta Sorority -- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity -- Lamar University Alliance of Black School Educators -- Lamar University NAACP College Chapter -- Lamar University Student Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants -- National Society of Black Engineers -- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity -- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity -- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority -- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority

For more information about student organizations, contact the Office of Student Organization Services at 409.880.8722.