Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month for me has always been a time for celebration and joy. Black joy allows me and other Black students to experience and learn about all of the wonderful things Black culture and history have created. Community members, student organizations, and college departments host events this month all centered around bringing attention to the Black experience across the diaspora. We are given time to celebrate Blackness without hesitation and in a space of safety and healing. 

As the month comes to a close, I asked Black students on campus what Black History Month means to them and why it is important.

Darius Butler, College fourth-year:

Black History Month is important to me because it is a time to celebrate all of the excellence and the many contributions that Black Americans have made, not just in the U.S. but also abroad. Oftentimes, when it comes to our history, it is undermined, it is overlooked, and it is very pacified. So, Black History Month gives us a time that really celebrates and centers us and centers our narratives, our stories, our lives, our culture, and just all of the amazing things that we’ve done and all of the amazing things we will continue to do. It’s a celebration of the Black past and of the future as well. So, that’s why I love Black History Month.

Jacob Epps, College second-year: 

Black History Month is important to me because I feel like honoring and showing appreciation to Black people who came before me is important, especially because a lot of those people are the reason why I’m able to do the things I do today as far as go to college and pursue a career of my own choosing.

Jeremiah Ince, College first-year: 

Black History Month is important to me because, growing up, I was in a predominantly white neighborhood and I didn’t see a lot of people like me around. So Black History Month really just helped me embrace my culture and embrace people around me. When I moved away from that white space into a more Black space, it gave me a greater appreciation for my Blackness and taught me history that challenged certain lies I had been taught. So, having that space this month is really important to me. 

Bour Opoku, College fourth-year: 

I think it’s really important within the society that we live in today, especially, to take a moment and reflect on how rich and extensive Black history is and how much it impacts our everyday lives. I think, especially as an Africana Studies major during Black History Month, we, and the larger Oberlin community, can take time to reflect on the importance of Black culture, traditions, and the historical figures who inspire us all today. 

Lee Jones, College third-year:

Black History Month is definitely important for a lot of reasons. I think my main reason is that people are actively trying to get rid of Black history and ignore it, especially in Florida, which makes me really scared because if you ignore the history, it means that you can pretend it didn’t happen and then do the same things. So, from a practical standpoint, more people need to know. I also like the idea of Black people getting to be cool and be hyped up, and getting to just enjoy being Black unapologetically. 

Dejah Pittman, College fourth-year:

Black History Month, to me, is a celebration of all of the things starting with the culture. Music. The way that a lot of American culture embodies itself due to Black people. Black people have started so many great things way before even coming to this country and it’s just amazing that we’ve gotten to the point that now we are globally recognized. Of course, after having this month getting national recognition for years, it still means so much that it becomes bigger year after year. It’s become more of a monument, and it’s just amazing to see that so many colleges such as Oberlin can continue the tradition of so much great programming — like the fashion show — to embody just what Black History Month is for us.

Mia Knox, College second-year: 

Black History Month is important to me because I feel like Black individuals always get a lack of awareness and resources. They’re not placed in a position of importance. I think that Black History Month is a time to bring that awareness to not just the important people in history that have helped shape what Black History Month has become today, but also just everyday people that you see on campus. Educators, first responders, students, and more, because Black people do deserve that awareness, not just this month, but all the time. 

Wyaé Stewart, College fourth-year: 

I think Black History Month is important just to rethink about all of our triumphs and everything we’ve been through, but also to come together as a community and enjoy the proofs of our labor that we’ve done for so many years, to be able to share with generations to come and for other people who are not of the diaspora, to finally recognize the love and light that we bring to this universe. 

Damian Goggins, Conservatory third-year: 

While I wish we had more than the shortest month of the year, I love to see a good portion of society showing appreciation for my heritage and culture that I celebrate all year.

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