Mercyhurst Celebrated Black History Month

Bella Lee, Staff writer

February is always seen as being a very important month in American culture and history. That is because it is Black History Month. In a time where Black history and culture is still very much underappreciated and misunderstood, Black History Month allows for our community to become more educated. Black History Month finds its origins in 1915, when Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded what is now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). In 1926, the group proposed a Black History Week in the second week of February, to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In the late 1960s, thanks to the push of students at Kent State University, Black History Week expanded into Black History Month, and was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976. Since 1976, each Black History Month has had a special theme. The theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance,” which explores how African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings since the beginnings of the United States. In honor of Black History Month, Multicultural Student Services and Mercyhust Student Government sponsored a series of events and activities for all in the Mercyhurst community to partake in. This began on Feb. 1, when Terrence Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, spoke in front of hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and community members about his brother’s life, the work he has done since his death and why young individuals should continue to speak out against police brutality and systemic racism. This was followed by a Black Resistance Dialogue on Feb. 2, where the Black Students for Unity (BSU) hosted a debriefing conversation to discuss what Floyd had taught the audience and their takeaways. Other events for Black History Month at Mercyhurst included a screening of the documentary film “13th” and a discussion on Feb. 14, a MAC/SAC event with comedian LeClerc Andre that included decorating cookies and trivia, and a soul food festival coming up on Feb. 28, where students will have the opportunity to try out food from local restaurants in Erie. Additionally, there are a selection of Black History Month events that occurring off campus, including a fashion show at Penn State Behrend on March 25 and a “Black Ice Night” with the Erie Otters, presented by Erie’s Black Wall Street, on Feb. 28. Mercyhurst always has great events for students to partake in for Black History Month, so these were all wonderful chances to get involved and learn more about why it is so important to learn about African American heritage. Be sure to keep an eye out for what upcoming events are going on and/or follow BSU on social media to stay in the loop!