Cumberland University Celebrates Black History Month

Cumberland University celebrated Black History Month with virtual and on-campus events led by student organizations and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion during the month of February. 

Black History Month was originally established in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson as a week-long celebration to raise awareness for the accomplishments and history of Black Americans in the U.S.. February was officially adopted as Black History Month under President Gerald R. Ford in 1976 and has been celebrated annually ever since. 

“We’re excited to celebrate the many accomplishments of African Americans during Black History Month through COVID-19 friendly events,” said Director of Diversity and Inclusion Rebekah Sookdeo. “While we as a society are uncovering hard truths and working to enhance awareness, CU’s student groups & the Diversity and Inclusion office are intentional about celebrating the joy and success of Black Americans, which is often overlooked. As we acknowledge these racial injustice issues, we continue working together to support current and future students of all races and backgrounds.” 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted speaker Steffron James who spoke on the topics of, “What is Justice and How Did We Get Here?” and “Using Your Power to Navigate Today’s Society.” 

Student organizations AFRO and the Black Student Union held events including a virtual seminar titled, “When Black Women Lead,” and a virtual Black history trivia night with special guest Brad Sativa. 

The celebrations concluded with a hybrid concert by singer-songwriter Jonathan Blanchard highlighting the music that fueled the Civil Rights Movement. The concert was funded in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission and The Art of Life grants.

“Celebrating and learning about Black History is not something designated only to the month of February; it should be an everyday effort in the education system,” said University President Dr. Paul Stumb. “I am grateful for the work that our Office of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as our many student organizations, are doing to create opportunities for growth on our campus.” 

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