The Significance of Black History Month at York College

by Priyanka Singh 

Queens, New York City. – Black History Month is a way of teaching young people about the accomplishments that African Americans have made. It is time to reflect on everything they have sacrificed for our country to be what it is today. In addition, Black History Month means understanding the rich history of Black Americans. 

February is a month of recognition. Honor is displayed for Black people who paved the way for different cultures, including their own. This month is special because, without certain people, we wouldn’t be where we are or have what we have in today’s society. Black people and African Americans who stood up and led the way for others have been successful in their mission which gave certain people a new opportunity in the future. 

“Black is beautiful,” Asia Smith, a sophomore and biology major at York College, said. “It’s the symbol of elegance, excellence, and being bold.”

Andrew P. Jackson, also known as Sekou Molefi Baako, is an Adjunct Instructor at York College. This semester, he taught Introduction to Black Studies and The Civil Rights Movement in America. Both courses are related to the Black experience. Teachers like Jackson infuse Black history into their teaching by shining light on the historical Black figures and what they’ve done. 

“As most students on campus do not take Black Studies courses, this is a golden opportunity for our college to maximize February,” Jackson said. “We host a wealth of historical lectures, panels, speakers and documentaries on The Black Experience.” 

Black history is a part of American history. Faculty are teaching students this throughout the year. They’re learning more about the experiences as teachers show more detailed events of the past and relevant Black figures. According to CUNY, Black History Month 2022 was celebrated with around 100 events across several campuses.

The Africana Studies Center, located in the Academic Core building at York College, promotes the history of Africa and the African Diaspora. 

“Throughout this country, the Government and legislature are trying to submerge the history of this country and its relationship to African descent,” the director of the center, Dr. Lindamichelle Baron, said. “It’s not all about African history; it’s also about American history. History allows us not to repeat the mistakes of the past; it helps us build from the positive aspect.” 

This year, York College celebrated Black History Month in many ways ranging from a 55th-anniversary breakfast to virtual panels and movie screenings. According to Baron, more people are reaching out to help start a series in York about teachings from the 1960s and building on that concept. 

York College is helping transform the world’s understanding of Africa and the role of people of African descent. It displayed ideas around culture and engagement with different individuals.  York College welcomed people from all over to look into the global influence and impact of Africans and Black people. 

“York College focuses on a collection of events by profiling Black women who inspire us. This month they have Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Serena Williams, and Michelle Obama,” said Beanon Raymonsaint, a senior and journalism major at York College.

Black History Month was created to focus on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. It honors all Black people from different periods of United States history. It dates back to the first enslaved people brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States in this generation.

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