Does Black History Month matter?
That’s the discussion Dr. Ron Charles, StFX Department of Religious Studies, and Dr. Ian Rockborough-Smith, StFX Department of History, will lead during a campus presentation scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Schwartz 205.
The event is sponsored by the Departments of History and Religious Studies. All are welcome.
“Our goal is to provoke discussion and speak to Black History Month’s enduring significance,” Dr. Rockborough-Smith says.
The history professor says the origins of African American History Month in the United States date back to 1915 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) in Chicago, Illinois (now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History).
In 1926 the ASNLH created the first "Negro History Week" and later helped proclaim it a "month" by 1976. Since that time, similar annual commemorations, celebrations, and reflections have spread across the U.S. and around the world. In many contexts, these history recognition events remain significant, but often undervalued as mere token moments for public officials and figures to simply proclaim how far they feel they have achieved "diversity."
So why is Black History Month still important? Racism is still a problem in the United States and elsewhere. Dr. Charles and Dr. Rocksborough-Smith will present aspects of their research in light of this question and these debates.