Updated: Mar 1, 2019
As Black History Month comes to an end, it begs the question, did Salisbury University do enough to celebrate and acknowledge the black community on campus?
Black History Month is celebrated during the month of February within the United States, and has been recently recognized in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands. Black History Month was created to honor the accomplishments of the black community and the history and importance of the African diaspora.
This year, SU had an African-American History Month Dinner and Soul Food Night on Feb. 6. The dinner was paired with the Bernard Sweetney Jazz Quartet that performed for two hours in The Commons. Guest lecturer Dr. Martha S. Jones from John Hopkins University gave a lecture on Feb. 21 and will on Feb. 28. In addition, a film screening of "Talking Black in America" is happening on Feb. 28 in Fulton Hall Room 111 with a panel discussion afterwards with SU faculty.
Though there were some events catered toward Black History Month, it lacked the publicity that other events receive on campus. The SU community was not fully aware of the different events happening on campus for Black History Month, decreasing student and faculty participation.
Ousmane Sarr, a junior business economics major, felt like the events created did not involve students, and there was little outreach to organizations on campus.
“There’s not a lot of events, there’s not a lot of discussion. There’s not a lot of clubs participating in it. There is not a lot of guest speakers,” Sarr said. “I feel like there should be more emails talking about the events on campus related to African-American history and at least an email talking about Martin Luther King Day and have resident assistants more involved in it.”
In general, SU is good at sending emails to students about events happening on campus. It will either send a daily email about events happening up to two weeks in advance or have different individual emails about a specific event happening.
Many students on campus feel as though SU has not done enough or could even do more for Black History Month. Jeremy Joyner, a communications major at SU, felt as though SU has been focused on other matters.
“I don’t feel like it’s been a focus because we are in such a big transitional period because we got a new president, so they are focusing more on the academic part of campus more than just the representation of campus,” Joyner said.
Joyner also believes that national events and recent controversies this month have overshadowed the importance of celebrating African-American culture and history.
“I feel like we are not talking about Black History Month because there is a lot of things happening in the world that are negatively impacting our country in terms of the Mueller investigation, the border wall crisis and natural disasters happening in our country,” Sarr continued. “It’s shifting our minds to pessimistic news rather than gratifying black culture.”
In the past, SU has been able to hold many different events. Back in 2016, SU had poets and authors come to the university and even artists to perform. A professional company that focuses more on stepping came and there was an annual Multicultural Student Summit.
In that year, the Black History Month events were sponsored by various organizations on campus including the SU African American History Month Committee, Multicultural Student Services Office, Cultural Affairs Office, English and history departments, Fulton Public Humanities Initiative and University Dining Services.
Next year, SU needs to rekindle its relationships with students and multicultural organizations on campus to ensure that Black History Month events are known, celebrated and attended.
By SYLLIA NEWSTEAD
Featured Image: Culturela image.