UWF events bring Black History Month to life

By Kaitlin Lott

Staff Writer

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Although many individuals may disagree in the rationalization of celebrating Black History Month, UWF continues to show support and engage in celebrating growth and change by hosting a series of events throughout the month of February.

UWF caters to a multitude of diverse organizations and events, from historically African-American sororities and fraternities to the Miss Multicultural Pageant.

“I feel that UWF is slowly getting better at acknowledging Black History Month,” said Ronnie Williams Jr., an exercise science major. “Organizations like AASA [African American Students Association] and W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society have been putting on events throughout the month of February.” The W.E.B. DuBois Honor Society, of which Williams is vice president, hosted a Black History Month showcase Thursday night in the Commons Auditorium. The event included enactments of past historical events, poetry/dance performances and speeches.

“I believe this showcase displayed some history of what black people went through and acknowledged the achievement that many black people have endured over the years,” Williams said. “I gained a lot of information from this event, and I truly appreciate my culture more.”

UWF will welcome Freeman Hrabowski III as the keynote speaker for Black History Month at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, in the UWF Conference Center. Hrabowski is the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He was also named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME magazine in 2012.

Also, Susan Jans-Thomas, professor in the Department of Research and Advanced Studies, presented “2015: An Anniversary Year in U.S. Civil Rights,” hosted by the UWF Historic Trust on Feb. 18. The presentation was part of the Voices of Pensacola sharing a year of events throughout the South, recognizing historical events in Civil Rights history. In 2015, Jans-Thomas completed the 50th anniversary march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery.

However, not everyone on campus feels the university and its organizations are doing enough.

“I feel that UWF could have done a better job representing Black History Month,” said Pernell Beals, business major at UWF. “We should have highlighted the contributions blacks have had on the world everyday this month… showed black movies every week like ‘Dope,’ ‘NWA,’ ‘The Jackson 5’ or any movie that highlights what blacks have done.”

Beals also said black organizations on campus should have put on the biggest events of the year this month, since it is aimed at black excellence. “We have to do better,” Beals said.

Many areas on campus have advertised Black History Month events, including residence halls, major-specific building and the Commons.

“As a graduate student, I think UWF has been doing a better job of representing Black History Month,” Allie Ford, a criminal justice graduate said. “When I went to UWF there was a noose hung outside of my residence hall, so it is nice to see that UWF is working to highlight African-Americans without putting others down.”

For more information on the Office of Equity, Diversity and International Affairs, check their website.