The Daily Gamecock

Black History Month in Columbia

How was Black History Month established?

Most people are familiar with the idea of Black History Month, yet few would be able to describe how this annual celebration came to be. It turns out that this celebration is not a novel concept, as seeds of this event were planted during the beginning of the 20th century.

The foundation of Black History Month was laid in September of 1915, when Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded an organization dedicated to researching and supporting the achievements of African-Americans.

The organization, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), first sponsored a Negro History Week in 1926. The idea for the event came to Woodson when he became disturbed by the underrepresentation of African-Americans in educational literature.

Having earned two degrees in history,Woodson knew that African-Americans had a greater impact on American history than students were led to believe. His Negro History Week was intended to bring attention to the issue and improve history curricula.

The event was planned for the second week of February in order to correlate with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Negro History Week caught on and inspired communities across the nation to organize their own black history clubs. Subsequently, city mayors began to issue yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week.

Encouraged by the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the event evolved into Black History Month on numerous college campuses. In 1976 President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month as a national observance. Since then, every U.S. president has decreed February as Black History Month and announced the year’s theme. The Black History Month theme for 2017 is “The Crisis in Black Education.”

During this month, Americans can take the time to recognize the significant contributions African-Americans have made to our society. Hopefully, we can live up to Carter Woodson’s hopes by keeping the conversation going and continuing to seek new knowledge.

Black History Month Events Calendar

Black History Month presents an opportunity to learn more about the achievements of African-Americans and acknowledge their triumphs in the face of adversity. There are a lot of events occurring both on and off campus that students can attend. Events range from discussions to live performances, so there is something to cater to everyone. Here are just a few events to help you start planning how you are going to celebrate Black History Month.

Feb. 6: Human Family

7:30 p.m., Eau Claire High School, 4800 Monticello Road

Human Family is an event featuring performances from the USC Gospel Choir, Richland Northeast High School and Brookland Baptist churches. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.

Feb. 7: Association of African American Students (AAAS) meeting: Black History at USC

6 p.m., Russell House Theater

This event hosted by AAAS will involve a discussion of African-American history at the University of South Carolina.

Feb 7: Poetry Slam: We Wear the Mask

7–9 p.m., Russell House Theater

Attendants will have the opportunity to share experiences of “double-consciousness” and of being a person of color at USC. There will be music, poetry and spoken word performances.

Feb. 8: Exploring Subcultures and Intersectionality

7 p.m., Russell House 205

LASO will examine how Latin culture differs from Afro-Latinx culture. The organization will discuss dances, music and other cultural elements that are important to the subculture.

Feb. 8: 3rd Annual Strolling Through History Showcase

7 p.m., RH Ballroom

The Divine 9 will highlight members of its respective organizations who have made positive contributions to history while demonstrating the values that characterize the Divine 9.

Feb. 9: Quench: Can you hear us? Being Black and Transgender

12:00 p.m., SEC room

This OMSA event involves discussion on what it means to be both black and transgender in our society.

Feb. 9: Jonathan Green and Columbia City Ballet

7:30 p.m., Johnson Performance Hall, Darla Moore School of Business, 1014 Greene St.

The event will include a lecture by international artist and South Carolina native, Jonathan Greene, and The Columbia City Ballet performing scenes from “Off the Wall: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green.” Tickets range from $10-$20.

Feb. 9: USC Concert Choir and University Chorus

7:30 p.m., Main Street United Methodist Church, 1830 Main St.

In this joint concert, the University Chorus will perform musical selections by black composers, and the Concert Choir will preview their spring European program.

Feb. 10: Nikki Giovanni

8 p.m., Johnson Performance Hall at the Darla Moore School of Business, 1014 Greene St.

Award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni will be reciting some of her work. Tickets are $20 and will be available at the door.

Feb. 12: Homeplaces, Workplaces, Resting Places: An African-American Heritage Sites Tour

2 – 3:30 p.m., Robert Mills house, 1616 Blanding St.

During the monthly Second Sunday Roll, visitors will be able to explore local African-American sites with Historic Columbia.

Feb. 13: "13th" the Documentary

6 p.m., Richland Library Main

This event is a screening of the Netflix documentary that examines the topics of the American prison system and the criminalization of African-Americans in the U.S.

Feb. 15: Capturing Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina
12 p.m., Hollings Program Room, Thomas Cooper Library

Students can come and see a collection of photos taken by Civil Rights era photographer Cecil Williams, as well as learning about South Carolina's role in the civil rights movement

Feb. 18: African-American Stories

10:30 a.m., Richland Library Main

Visitors can enjoy songs, stories and more related to the African-American experience.

Feb. 22: Black History Month Popcorn Party

7 p.m., Russell House 205

LASO is hosting a Black History Month watch party and providing the popcorn.

Feb: 23: Back II Black

8 p.m., Russell House Ballroom

B.O.N.D And SAVVY are hosting this event, which features live bands, poetry performances, singing and instrumental music.

Feb. 25: Harambee Festival

9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Mays Human Resources Center Arena, Benedict College

Benedict College is putting on this festival, which features food, jazz and gospel music, an art exhibit, empowerment workshops, health screenings and stage performances. 

Mar. 1: Building the Future

5:30 - 7:30 p.m., Alumni Center

OMSA and the Black Alumni Council are sponsoring a networking event and panel discussion of the black experience at USC.