Looking back, moving forward

Students recognize Black History Month

February is nationally recognized as Black History Month, but Ferris students are celebrating their heritage throughout the entire year.

“Black history, it’s not just February. For me, it’s all year round: just celebrating yourself and your identity, and the history that comes along with that. But Black History Month, the month of February, is basically for everyone else to acknowledge the greatness that we’ve done over time,” Ferris secondary education junior Ashley Jordan said.

According to Time magazine, in 1915 Carter G. Woodsen and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which is currently known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

The association began a Negro History Week in 1926, which took place during the second week of February to include both Frederick Douglass’ and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. Decades later, this became the Black History Month celebrated today.

Ferris has been coordinating events to celebrate the month for at least 30 years since the Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS) was introduced to campus, according to OMSS Assistant Director Michael Wade.

“I think it’s something that should be celebrated because I think the narrative that we get about Black History Month is vague and non-inclusive of the many lenses, and also contributions that African Americans have made to this society. It’s an opportunity to do that and to be able to address that gap, so to speak,” Wade said.

During the month of February, OMSS will host a variety of events for students to learn about African American history, including films, discussions and a play.

“I think it’s also a time just to come together and learn about some great contributions, to celebrate those, but also to recognize areas that we still have work to improve in when it comes to social justice and understanding.” Wade said.

Students of all ethnicities are welcome and encouraged to attend the events and expand their cultural knowledge.

Ferris integrated studies senior Thomas Murry said it is important for non-African American students to participate in Black History Month.

“The reason why is to actually understand how our history is set up and how we dealt with everything over the course of time,” Murry said. “I just want people to actually be more aware of our history. We are here, too. It’s more than what people show in a textbook.”