Maryville College has begun its annual black history month celebration to commemorate black excellence during the month. The month was started by a great author named Carter G. Woodson, who was born December 19, 1875 and died April 3, 1950. He was the second black man to receive a Ph.D. from a predominately white institution. Black History Month started in 1926 when he decided to celebrate “Negro History Week.” The week turned into a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Maryville College played an important role after the Civil War by allowing African Americans to attend the school. Maryville College was one of the only schools in the south to do so. Later, Jim Crow laws prohibited any African American people from being in the same schools as whites. After Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the ban was lifted, and Maryville College was the first institution in Tennessee to bring African Americans back into the college.
Aaron Solomon, Black Student Alliance (BSA) President, along with other students have spent much time preparing for the great events that have and will continue to take place during the month. Like many years in the past, he plans to make this year special.
“A few other students and I wanted to make this year’s Black History Month Celebration huge,” he said. “I want everyone to come out and learn about the culture and see what we are really about.”
This year the Black History celebration started with a brief history lesson on head wraps, bonnets, and durags called “Head Wraps & History”. This was followed by the “Black Woman in America” panel discussion that was held by students on February 6. This explored what it means to be a black woman in America today. On Thursday February 8, BSA had mock interviews held by employees at Enterprise. Each student was able to participate in the interviews and gain experience for the
“I really enjoyed the event and it was great to see people who look like me in higher positions at these jobs,” Maryville College Junior, Danaya Randolph said.
The event was followed up by a NAACP sign-up that happened in the lobby of Pearsons Hall and a “Colorism” dialogue held in Fayerweather Hall’s Lawson Auditorium. The highlight of the celebration will be poetry night dedicated to one of Maryville College’s best scholars, Xavier Sales ’17, who passed away last year. Sales was an outstanding student that stole the hearts of many on campus including many professors. Each student will be able share their work with their peers live on stage. The month will end with Apollo Night, which will be held on Feb. 28 from 7-9 p.m. in the Clayton Center. BSA would like to encourage everyone to come o
ut and celebrate the last few days of Black History Month. All events this month are open to the public.