February is Black History Month, and this is a great opportunity to celebrate the lived experiences, struggles, history, and culture of African-Americans in the US. A college campus provides the perfect platform for learning and creating awareness about the various issues that Blacks in the US have been facing and continuing to face even today. One can also set this time aside to delve deeper into learning about the lives of several iconic figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, W.E.B. Dubois, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, and other central personalities who have played key roles in fighting for the rights of African-Americans in this country. You can also take this time to explore the origins and history of R&B music, the history of rap music, soul food, and other cultural elements that have been the essence of Black life in the US.
If your campus has planned events for the month, make sure you participate in as many of the activities as possible to celebrate this month. You can take part in planning and organizing some of these events as well. Here are a few ways to celebrate Black History Month on your campus:
- Organize guest lectures. Request your campus administrators to organize guest lectures on Black history and culture. Alternatively, if you are on the leadership committees of any social groups or clubs, you could invite and honor experts on Black history to share their knowledge and experiences with your group.
- Put up film screenings and plays. Yet another way to learn more about Black history and experience Black culture is by putting up productions of plays that deal with African-American issues or screen movies relevant to Black history. Make sure to advertise these widely and to make them accessible to all so that everyone who wishes to can attend these events. Holding an interactive discussion or Q&A session after the production or screening is a great way to encourage more active participation from the audience. This way, everyone can hear more about the lived experiences of Black people and engage with the subject rather than just passively watching the play or movie.
- Celebrate with “soul” food. There is no celebration without food, and what better way to celebrate Black History Month than with “soul” food? You can request your campus cafeterias to dedicate a few days in this month to prepare quintessential “soul” food dishes like fried chicken, biscuits, corn bread, collard greens, fried catfish, etc. Within your after-school clubs and organizations, or even within your friends groups, you could host potluck dinners themed around soul food. You could have a gathering for a film screening or a book discussion for Black History Month, after which you could serve soul food.
- Organize a fashion show. A true celebration of any culture is incomplete without a nod to the sartorial contribution of that culture. And the best way to celebrate the clothes that reflect a culture is to showcase them in a fashion show. So, organizing a fashion show of African-American clothes can be a fun way to learn more about the use of color, fabric, and design as well as the history that gave rise to this style.
- Celebrate with Blues music. Blues music is known for its origins from Black culture and is, in many ways, the best way to celebrate Black History Month. It is true that music has the power to transport one’s mind like no other medium. So, to celebrate Blues music, you could invite popular Blues bands to play at your campus and honor the band members after the concert. If time permits, you could also request them to talk about their idols and influences.
These are only a few simple ways to honor and celebrate a centuries’ old history and culture. There are numerous other ideas, both big and small, to help you learn more about Black history, struggles, and experiences. How do you plan to celebrate Black History month? Do share your ideas with us in the comments.